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Regina v. Bartle, Bow Street Stipendiary Magistrate & Commissioner of Police, Ex Parte Pinochet

House of Lords
United Kingdom House of Lords [2000] 1 A.C. 147 (1999), 2 W.L.R. 827 (H.L.), reprinted in 38 I.L.M. 581 (1999)


In 1998, a Spanish judge for extradition requested that an English magistrate issue a warrant for the arrest of Pinochet (defendant), the former head of state of Chile. The request for a warrant charged that while head of state, Pinochet conspired with others to take hostage, torture, and kill numerous people, including Spanish citizens. Pinochet was arrested and brought before an English court. However, he argued that he was immune from arrest and could not properly be extradited. The English House of Lords considered Pinochet’s case twice. After issuing its first judgment, the House of Lords reversed itself on the ground that one of its justices had failed to disclose his affiliation with Amnesty International, an organization that had intervened in the case. In considering the case a second time, the House of Lords ruled on the issue of whether Pinochet could claim immunity, and whether the crimes he allegedly committed could be properly considered crimes under English law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lord Browne-Wilkinson)

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