Security realists’ philosophy; security mixes not with human rights

Security realists’ philosophy; security mixes not with human rights

BY AUGUSTINE LOKWANG

Security cabinet secretary Hon. Nkaissery.

Security cabinet secretary Hon. Nkaissery.

On January 2, 2015, Justice George
Odunga ruled that eight sections of
the new anti-terrorism law would
be suspended over human rights
violations.
The High Court suspended clauses
12, 16, 26, 29, 48, 56, 58 and 64 of
the Security laws Amendment act
which was enacted by parliament
recently.
The contested clauses relate to ;the
right to hold terror suspects for close
to one year without trial; excessive
police surveillance powers; impris-
onment of journalists for up to three
years if their reports undermined
investigations or security operations
relating to terrorism or publishing
“insulting, threatening, or inciting
material or images of dead or injured
persons which are likely to cause
fear and alarm to the general public
and the right for the prosecution
not to disclose given material evi-
dence useful to the defence’s sub-
mission in favour of the accused
before the determination of the case
by the court. Generally the security
law sought to limit the freedom of
expression.
Further, some sections were seen
as contravening international con-
ventions and instruments because
of capping refugee number to be
hosted in Kenya to 150,000 breaches
international conventions/protocols
on refugees which Kenya is a signaory to.
It is not the whole law being
expunged. Only the contentious
clauses are to be reviewed. The
security thinkers behind this law did
their job right, the High Court with
its ruling has done its job right, the
hitch was with the parliament which
chose to behave as conveyor belt by
hastily hearing and passing the Bill
with all the mentioned contentious
concerns, the parliament chose to be
a rubber stamp by not doing that that
befits its noble role. Then the presi-
dent urgently signed into law, the
Bill that many termed draconian.
The High court’s suspension of
the controversial clauses; 12-, 16,
26, 29, 48, 56, 58 and 64) of the
new security Bill was to push for
a review of the said law to be con-
sistent with the 2010 constitution
(Bill of Rights and other laws). This
appears to have been the reason for
the court to take this decision.
More pressure is expected to be
mounted on the government by the
opposition and the civil society
groups (the complainants) following
this ruling. There will be calls for
the law to be returned to parliament
for further all-inclusive deliberations
and consensus building towards an
acceptable version.
While the opposition and civil
society groups went to court want-
ing a security law with a human
face (Human Rights), government’s
philosophy is that “security doesn’t
mix very well with human rights”
especially in the context of our cur-
rent security at cross roads.
The said philosophy is synony-
mous with all governments, it applies
where there’s worsening security
situation, and championed as a real-
ist’s philosophy that seeks to apply
a strict and tough approach as a dif-
ferent way of going about security
challenges.
No criminal, insurgent, terrorist
respects human rights, while they
have caused havoc with unleashing
deadly violence leading to many loss
of lives, wanton destruction of prop-
erty, exponential increase in num-
bers of survivor victims living in
psychological trauma from intense
violence meted on them, etc. Maybe
this would sound reasonable, logi-
cal and realistic but not necessarily
legally or ideally acceptable, that
“He who does not respect the human
rights of others, his human rights
should not equally be respected”.
In times of heightened and volatile
security situations, most perpetra-
tors of violence, crime, terrorism,
insurgency, etc. bank a lot more on
the fact that human rights provi-
sions exist to facilitate their heinous
acts against their targets, most sus-
pects of terrorism, violent criminal
activities, etc., have in many situa-
tions been set free because human
rights and human rights activists
made strong submissions to facili-
tate the scot-free release of persons
who were known to have infringed
the human rights of others, begging
the question, who then demands for
the respect of the human rights of
the victims whose same rights were
infringed?
Security minds are not legal minds,
and are charged with the enormous
responsibility of protecting citizens.
Their duty is understandably dif-
ficult to balance with the rhetoric
of human rights. Where violence
is being applied by the criminals
against other citizens and securi-
ty officers, the matter of human
rights takes the backyard. With this
background and explanation, secu-
rity therefore hardly mixes very well
with human rights demands.
Therefore, the case of our new
security laws is underpinned by that
philosophy, given that government
is charged with the responsibility to
protect the people and their property.
It therefore must do all it can to deal
with insecurity. This informs the
kind of direction we have gravitated
towards in the recent times.
Augustine Lokwang, Capt (Rtd) is a
security consultant and researcher.






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