A controversial decision by the Court of Appeals in the United Kingdom raised questions as to which rights are possessed by those who serve in the military in far off lands. The court ruled that Pte. Smith, who died while serving in Iraq, was protected by the same rights as those given to citizens of the United Kingdom. The Smith family solicitor, Jocelyn Cockburn, said: “we are absolutely delighted by the outcome which has the logical conclusion that like all citizens of the United Kingdom, soldiers have the protection set out under the Human Rights Act. This claim was disputed by the military which argued a soldier who is deployed no longer is covered by UK laws and procedures.
The case arose when a coroner who investigated the death of Smith, noted his death was caused by “a serious failure to recognize and take appropriate steps to address the difficulty he had in adjusting to the climate.” It is certainly an important decision because it recognizes the rights of those who serve and protects their rights even when they are engaged in combat.
Is it time for an American court to afford such protection to American soldiers?