United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section M. Right to appeal
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
Every prisoner of war must be given, in the same manner as members of the armed forces of the Detaining Power, the right of appeal or petition against any judgement or sentence passed on him, with a view to the quashing of the sentence or the reopening of the trial.
With respect to situations of occupation, the manual provides:
There is no absolute right of appeal against sentence. The Civilian Convention Article 73 merely lays down that “the convicted person shall have the right of appeal provided for by the laws applied by the court”. However, where the law makes no provision for appeal, the convicted person must be given the right to petition the competent authority of the Occupying Power against the finding and sentence. In either case, he must be fully informed of his right to appeal or petition and of the time limit within which he may do so.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Every prisoner of war must be given the same rights of petition and appeal against finding and sentence as members of the armed forces of the detaining power and must be fully informed of those rights and of any time limits.”
In its discussion on the administration of criminal law in occupied territory, the manual states:
Although a convicted person has no specific right of appeal under the law of armed conflict, a right of appeal may exist under the law applied by the court. Even where that law makes no provision for appeal, the convicted person has a right to petition the competent authority of the occupying power in respect of finding and sentence. He must be fully informed of his rights of appeal and of any time limits within which he must present his appeal or petition.
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
On 3 July, the United States designated six detainees, including two British nationals held at Guantanamo bay, as eligible for trial under a military commission. We have strong reservations about the military commission. We have raised, and will continue to raise them energetically with the US. The Foreign Secretary spoke to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, about that over the weekend and will speak to him again in the next few days.
We are still seeking information about the conduct of any trial. Indeed, we continue to express strong views about the way in which we hope that a trial will be conducted. The same applies to the right of appeal.
I think that the hon. Gentleman’s question concerns whether the Geneva convention should apply to the detainees, and I have already made it clear that, in our view, it should.