Relatives of Malaysians killed by British troops in the Batang Kali massacre vow to take their fight to the Supreme Court

 

Relatives of 24 unarmed Malaysians shot dead by British troops 65 years ago have vowed to take their fight for a fresh inquiry to the Supreme Court after a panel of judges described the original investigation as “woefully inadequate”.

The Court of Appeal found it was “probable” that the families of those killed in the notorious Batang Kali massacre would succeed if they took their case for a new investigation into the killings in colonial-era Malaya to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The judges rejected an appeal from relatives for an immediate inquiry because English law does not yet mirror the ECHR. Instead, they said it was necessary for the Supreme Court to hear a fresh case on whether Britain’s Human Rights Act could apply retrospectively to killings which took place in the closing years of empire.

Lord Justice Kay, who led the panel of three judges, said confessions in 1969-70 by some of the Scots Guards involved in the shootings, that the rubber plantation workers were “shot down in cold blood” remained potentially significant to a fresh inquiry.

He added that the investigation carried out by the British colonial administration in 1948, which found that the victims had tried to escape, was “woefully inadequate”. A previous court ruling in 2012 found there was evidence to support the central claim of the relatives that their loved ones were executed.

Lawyers for the families said they will now take their complaint to the Supreme Court, added that the Court of Appeal had rejected a claim on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that responsibility for the killings lay with the Malaysian authorities.

John Halford, of law firm Bindmans, said: “Some might think it remarkable that present-day human rights standards should create a duty to investigate wrongdoing by British troops in a colonial village six decades ago and its cover-up in the years that followed.

“But those standards are rooted in far older British principles, specifically the right to life and to its protection by laws to be enforced on an equal basis. The Batang Kali massacre occurred because, in Britain's Empire, its principles were sometimes abandoned.”

Quek Ngee Meng, coordinator of a campaign group for Batang Kali relatives, said: “Our journey to seek redress has not come to an end. The destination is not too far off. Either UK human rights law needs to catch up with Europe with the help of the Supreme Court, or the families will need to go to Europe for satisfaction.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border