- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Judges with the European Court of Human Rights in essence kicked British law to the curb with a ruling that favored three convicted murderers — that mandatory life sentences are degrading and inhuman.

The ruling means Britain’s government will have to change its laws and bring them into line with the standards now set by the European court, Newsmax reported.

The murderers at the heart of the case — Jeremy Bamber, Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter — won’t automatically win their freedom. That’s because the judges didn’t hear evidence about their danger to society. But critics of the ruling say it puts Britain’s court system into confusion.

Britain currently has 49 murderers serving life sentences, The Telegraph reported. And though they aren’t likely to see the light of day again — their crimes are too egregious — the question that remains is one of sovereignty: What court guides British law?

“I pushed this [life sentencing system] through Parliament in response to the overwhelming demand of the British people for clear, transparent sentencing and for certainty that what starts out as a clear and unambiguous punishment will be carried out,” said former Home Secretary David Blunkett, Newsmax reported. And the failure to uphold this law “can only lead to disillusionment, mistrust of and a dangerous alienation from our democracy itself.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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