HC Deb 18 March 1997 vol 292 c512W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account he has taken of(a) the case of Kenneth McGinley and EE v. United Kingdom and (b) the ensuing report of the Europe Commission of Human Rights in determining his policy towards compensating participants in the nuclear test programme. [19136]

Mr. Soames

The European Commission of Human Rights concluded in its report on the case of McGinley and EEv. UK that there was a violation of article 6(1) of the convention because, in its opinion, the applicants' lack of access to "relevant records", defined as yield and radiation level records contemporary with the nuclear tests, prevented effective access to the pensions appeal tribunal. It is normal for the Commission to make proposals for compensation to provide "just satisfaction" for a breach of the convention. The Commission's proposals on compensation, however, expressly did not relate to a finding of increased mortality, cancers or other illnesses with participation in atmospheric nuclear tests. As the Committee of Ministers has referred the case to the European Court of Human Rights, the question of compensation no longer falls to be considered at this stage. Compensation would be a matter for the court to decide should it determine a violation of the convention. The Government intend to contest the case.