A jury at the Central Criminal Court in London reached the verdict today (November 1st) that the Office of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police had been guilty of an offense under health and safety legislation, in relation to the policing operation which led to the shooting dead of unarmed young Brazilian man Jean Charles de Menezes, on the London subway system on 22 July 2005.
These proceedings brought to light important and worrying new evidence about the events which led to the death of Menezes.
According to Amnesty International, however, this prosecution under health and safety legislation is not enough for the UK to discharge its obligations, under international human rights law, to ensure full and public scrutiny of the actions of all state agents and agencies involved in the events leading to the death of Brazilian electrician.
Amnesty wants the family of Menezes to be provided with critical information about all the circumstances surrounding his killing.
The provision of such information, the human rights organization says, is a key component of the family's right to an effective remedy under human rights obligations, which includes the right to a prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigation into the death.
The proceedings which have concluded today were focussed on criminal liability, a focus which is, by definition, narrow. Moreover they did not focus specifically on the liability of any individual for the death of Jean Charles de Menezes himself, but on the liability under health and safety legislation of the Office of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for exposing the public to a risk to their health or safety.
Amnesty International is also calling for the report of the first investigation into the incident carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), known as 'Stockwell 1', which has never been published, to be made available both to the family of Menezes and to the public without further delay.
Amnesty says it is concerned at the fact, later confirmed by the Metropolitan Police, that, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it had sought to block the IPCCÂ the body with overall responsibility for the police complaints system in England and Wales – from conducting from the outset the investigation into the killing of the national of Brazil.
The grounds given for this were that an IPCC investigation might obstruct the Metropolitan Police's ongoing anti-terrorist investigation.
The fact that the Metropolitan Police retained control over the investigation at the crucial initial stage runs counter to the need for such an investigation to be carried out independently of those responsible for the shooting, argues Amnesty.