ECHR complaint against failure to conduct independent public inquiry into Batang Kali massacre declared inadmissible


Re: Chong & Ors v the United Kingdom (App No. 29753/16)

This case concerned the killing of 24 men in Dec 1948 by British soldiers in the village of Batang Kali in Selangor, which is now a state of Malaysia but at the time was part of the British Empire. The applicants complained before the European Court that there had never been a full and independent public inquiry into the killings, contrary to ECHR, art 2.

The Court unanimously declared the application inadmissible having held that the complaint was not within its jurisdiction (ratione temporis) because the deaths had occurred more than 10 years before the UK had given individual applicants a right to apply directly to the Court. In any case the Court considered that the application had been lodged out of time, given that new evidence had come to light as early as 1970, when the soldiers had admitted that they had been ordered to carry out the massacre.

Zachary Douglas QC and Danny Friedman QC were involved in this case.