It may seem like fantasy but the International Criminal Court has been asked to consider whether to take legal action against ministers in the UK government whose enforcement of austerity measures has led to the deaths of sick and disabled people.
Disability specialist Samuel Miller has written to the office of the prosecutor at the ICC in The Hague, intending to file a complaint against the ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions who are considered most responsible for the “draconian welfare reforms and the resultant deaths of their society’s most vulnerable” – Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller.
He believes there is precedent for such a case, thanks to a request for a Greek austerity trial at the Hague.
But the matter is not cut and dried. Mr Miller’s letter seeks clarification on whether austerity deaths of the sick and disabled in the UK are considered a crime against humanity by the ICC and whether the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would be taken into consideration by the court.
Mr Miller has spent the past year reporting on the crisis for the UK’s sick and disabled to the United Nations. His own verdict is clear as crystal: “Austerity measures consisting of draconian welfare reforms and ‘sham’ means-testing (Atos Healthcare UK and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight – with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.”
My own opinion is that Mr Miller is right. At the very least, IDS and his cronies are guilty of corporate manslaughter (see previous blog posts on disability, Atos, the DWP and the many, many deaths).
Will the International Criminal Court see it this way? We’ll have to wait and see.
To be honest, I doubt that this campaign will score a victory at its first attempt.
But the recent verdict on the Hillsborough tragedy has shown that people are prepared to work hard and wait a long time for justice.