Sunday, June 8, 2014

Damian Thomas v. Jamaica case brief summary

Damian Thomas v. Jamaica case brief summary (2000, UN)

Summary: Damian Thomas was 15 when he was arrested for 2 murders. He was in a jail among adults, which is against the covenant, and was not represented by counsel. In 1996, when Thomas was 16, he communicated this to the UN Human Rights Committee.  Thomas also later alleges that while in detention, he was systematically beaten by warders.

In regards to the brutalization suffered at the hands of the wardens: The State, Jamaica, was informed, but has not refuted Thomas' allegations. The state had promised to investigate but never gave any feedback to UN Committee.

Under the optional protocol, Jamaica would have a duty to investigate, but the allegations were communicated to UN after Jamaica denounced the optional protocol. Therefore these claims are inadmissible.

In regards to Thomas being imprisoned among adults: This claim is still admissible. Jamaica never refuted the allegations, but will not cooperate.  Violation of article 25 of the covenant - protection as required by his status as a minor.

Conclusion: According to the covenant, Jamaica is under an obligation to Thomas to put him in a juvenile institution, and compensating him for placing him with adults while still a minor. Since Jamaica had signed on to the optional protocol, they recognized that the Committee was competent to determine whether there was a violation of the covenant. This case was submitted to UN before Jamaica's revocation the optional protocol. Committee requests for Jamaica to give them info within 90 days on what measures they took to correct this matter.

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