San Diego International Law Journal

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This article examines the impact of the European Court's right to life jurisprudence on the issue of accountability for state violence in Northern Ireland. To date, the initiatives undertaken by the United Kingdom to comply with the European Court's rulings are largely unsatisfactory. Piecemeal institutional reforms aimed at preventing future breaches of Article 2 have failed to fully address the underlying concerns identified by the Court, and domestic right to life jurisprudence has placed significant limitations on the extent to which past violations of the right to life can be dealt with effectively in British courts. The United Kingdom's response therefore calls into question both the government's commitment to honoring the Jordan et al. decisions and the capability of ordinary domestic criminal law to deal with systematic human rights abuses of the kind that occurred during the Northern Ireland conflict.