The Rt Hon. Sir Peter Gibson (born 1934) is a former British barrister and Lord Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and is currently a judge of the Qatar International Court. Gibson has also served, between April 2006 and December 2010, as the UK's Intelligence Services Commissioner, and was appointed by David Cameron in July 2010 to lead the Detainee Inquiry. He is an honorary member of the Society of Legal Scholars.
Education and career
He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1960, and was knighted and appointed to the High Court of Justice in 1981, serving in the Chancery Division. He served as a judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 1984, and, from 1990 to 1992, as Chairman of the Law Commission for England and Wales. From 1993 until 2005, he was a Lord Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. In 2006, he was made Intelligence Services Commissioner, with his first term expiring in 2009. On 1 April 2009, he was granted a second term, though Gibson stepped down early, at the end of 2010, in order to chair an inquiry into the UK's alleged role in the torture and other ill-treatment of persons detained during the highly controversial War on Terror. He was succeeded, on 1 January 2011, as ISC by Mark Waller.
Gibson is currently a judge of the Qatar International Court.
On 6 July 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Gibson to head the Detainee Inquiry, which would look into allegations that the UK intelligence services were complicit in the torture of detainees, including those from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp or subject to rendition flights. Troubled from the outset—Gibson's appointment was questioned by the director of Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith, almost as soon as it was announced, and human and civil rights and other advocacy groups slammed the inquiry for its lack of independence, impartiality, openness, and its failure to meet the UK's stringent obligations under domestic and international law to comprehensively investigate claims of torture (some groups had such grave misgivings that they threatened to boycott it)—the Detainee Inquiry was eventually scrapped after it reportedly fell into conflict with police investigations.
After a much-criticised delay, the interim report of the Inquiry was finally published on 19 December 2013. It concluded that the British intelligence services had been complicit in extraordinary rendition. It was announced that further investigations would be undertaken by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.
- "Honorary Members". The Society of Legal Scholars. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- "Biographies of the Justices". Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- "Intelligence Services Commissioner" (Written Statements, 20 March 2006). Lords Hansard, Session 2005–06, Volume 680, Part 122, Column WS18. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): I am pleased to announce that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) has approved the appointment of the right honourable Sir Peter Gibson as Intelligence Services Commissioner under the terms of Section 59 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The appointment will commence on 1 April 2006 and will run for three years."
- "Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner" (Written Statements, 2 April 2009). Commons Hansard, Session 2008–09, Volume 490, Part 59, Column 80WS. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): In accordance with Section 59 of the same Act, I have also re-appointed the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012."
- "Treatment of Detainees" (House of Commons Debates, 6 July 2010). Commons Hansard, Session 2010–12, Volume 513, Part 27, Column 176. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): While there is no evidence that any British officer was directly engaged in torture in the aftermath of 9/11, there are questions over the degree to which British officers were working with foreign security services who were treating detainees in ways they should not have done. […] So we will have a single, authoritative examination of all these issues. […] It will look at whether Britain was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees, held by other countries, that may have occurred in the aftermath of 9/11. […] I have asked the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson […] to lead the inquiry." The other members of the three-member inquiry team were Janet Paraskeva and Peter Riddell.
- "Intelligence Services Commissioner" (Written Statements, 20 January 2011). Commons Hansard, Session 2010–12, Volume 521, Part 102, Column 54WS. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): In accordance with section 59 of the regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, I have agreed to appoint the right hon. Sir Mark Waller as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013."
- "About the Inquiry". Official website of the Detainee Inquiry. Retrieved 9 June 2013. "The Inquiry has been referred to by different names including the 'Gibson Inquiry' and the UK 'Torture Inquiry', its official title is The Detainee Inquiry."
- James Blitz, Alex Barker (6 July 2010). "Torture claims raise out-of-court deal prospect". ft.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Peter Oborne (4 August 2011). "We covered up our involvement in torture. Now we must expose it". blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Clive A. Stafford Smith (19 July 2010). "Re: Torture Inquiry - Recusal; Letter to Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson". reprieve.org.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
After reviewing Gibson's record, Stafford Smith wonders (p. 10) if it would not have been more appropriate for Gibson to be a witness before the inquiry, "rather than its judge."
See also the letter of the UK director of Human Rights Watch, Tom Porteous, to Gibson …
"Letter to Sir Peter Gibson on the Inquiry into involvement with detainees in counter-terrorism operations". hrw.org. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
… and the comments of the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez:
"UN torture expert says open torture inquiry vital to 'root out cancer of torture' ". amnesty.org.uk. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Ian Cobain (23 February 2011). "Torture inquiry is legally flawed, say rights groups as NGOs ponder boycott". theguardian.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- "UK inquiry into rendition and torture collusion scrapped". BBC News. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Stephanie Nebehay (31 May 2013). "Britain must investigate torture in Iraq, Afghanistan: U.N". Reuters. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Kate Allen (8 June 2013). "Torture: if David Cameron still cares about Britain's reputation, he must act". theguardian.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Christopher Hope (19 December 2013). "Government 'risks accusations of burying bad news by publishing Gibson on day of Woolwich verdicts' ". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Ian Cobain, Richard Norton-Taylor, Nick Hopkins (19 December 2013). "MI5 and MI6 face questions over torture of terrorism suspects". theguardian.com. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- Call for Omagh intelligence probe: Sir Peter Gibson rejected many of Panorama's assertions. The Malvern Gazette, 16 March 2010.