Kenyan President uses Tory human rights plans to defend war crimes charges

24 October 2014 by

Photo credit: Guardian.co.uk

Photo credit: Guardian.co.uk

It is easy to forget that our domestic debate over the European Convention on Human Rights might be having an international impact. But the UK is only one of 47 states which is party to the Convention, and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg protects over 800 million people.

This morning, we brought you exclusive interviews with survivors of the Beslan massacre who are rightly worried that if the UK leaves the Convention, or even threatens to leave as the Conservatives did recently, that will affect their fight for justice. In short, Vladimir Putin would have a ready excuse for ignoring any conclusions reached by the Court.

Well, here is another example of the effect which political trash-talking about the ECHR can have. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing war crimes charges in the Hague relating to ethnic violence which erupted after the 2007 elections leaving 1,200 dead and 600,000 displaced.

He has recently stepped down in order to face the charges. He made a speech to the Kenyan Parliament (PDF) on 6 October strongly asserting Kenya’s “sovereignty”, and in doing so he said this:

The push to defend sovereignty is not unique to Kenya or Africa. Very recently, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom committed to reasserting the sovereign primacy of his parliament over the decision of the European Human Rights Court. He has even threatened to quit that court.

It is easy to overstate the ‘domino’ effect of the withdraw of support for international human rights in the UK. However, the UK is still respected internationally for its approach to the rule of law and human rights. And, the international legal system relies in the most part on the willing cooperation of states, even if that means some loss of sovereignty. As former Tory Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC has said, his party’s plan “undermines entirely the principles that underpin international law.” Don’t be surprised if Kenyatta’s is the first of many appeals to the UK’s assertion of “sovereignty” to defend unlawful acts.

Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS

Related posts:

7 comments


  1. Reblogged this on Revel Law Review and commented:
    This follows thematically from my first blog entry regarding the UK’s threat to withdraw from the ECHR and the Council of Europe. ‘Putting Britain First’ policies that ignore that Britain is part of the international community in order to quell short-sighted, nationalistic and isolationist political minorities threatens to undermine the reputation of the UK as a global role-model for the adherence to the rule of law (including international law to which all countries are bound) and as supposed champions of human rights at home and abroad.

  2. Tim says:

    I think Adam’s argument here is pretty watertight. Democracy, even when it is sexed up with fancy olde terms like ‘Parliamentary sovereignty,’ doesn’t have a place in Human Rights for a simple reason – the mob of bullies at the ballot box could pick on minorities – and that goes right against the principle of universality of Human Rights.

  3. Ma. says:

    I wouldn’t trust this government to write a mobile phone contract, let alone a Bill Of Rights.
    CSA Inquiry demonstrates why….

  4. Sir Bufton Tufton says:

    I’m afraid this is yet more hyperbole around the UK’s future position on the ECHR and not warrented. Historically African states have been under the governance of major western countires and most nations in the west have agreed over time that autonomy is required. However there still remains great political, cultural, social and tribal issues to overcome and that is clear to everyone. African nations have, over many years, gained their independence and have struggled to develop the internal governance processes required. Its taken the UK centuries to achieve what we have and where we are today. Having given Africa their freedoms, the international community continue to interfere and try to impose their will and sometimes usurp the sovereignty of the nation by various means. In reading the speech overall, not just three selective sentences, it is clear that his comments concern the nature of national sovereignty and how the international community often see it as a right to impinge on that sovereignty. To my reading he is just saying if the UK can stand up to international institutions, then so can they.

    1. jon says:

      But what you’re saying is incoherent nonsense. Britain – or the Tory part of Britain’s executive – isn’t standing up to international institutions, all that is occurring is said faction is setting its face against Parliament, a Parliament which decided the executive must honour the ECHR regime. In fact said Tory faction is not even doing that, it is simply making noises concerning a future manifesto commitment which won’t be passed by the lower house in any case.

      Likewise, Kenya’s obligations here arise from a treaty it itself signed, and which it can resile from if it chooses.

      Sovereignty isn’t in issue in either case. We can make and unmake what laws we choose, as can Kenya, but what we cannot do is make laws which run against the rules of a club which we wish to be in, at the same time as remaining in that club. As it happens we don’t wish to leave the Strasbourg system, it’s just political noisemaking.

    2. John Allman says:

      @ Sir Bufton Tufton

      Don’t think for one moment that the recent Scots referendum finally settled forever the last of UK’s *own* remaining great political, cultural, social and – yes – *tribal* issues. They’ll come back with a vengeance if a government is elected that tries to withdraw from both the Convention and from the EU, you mark my words. (The option to remain in the Convention, but to withdraw from the EU, isn’t on offer from the UKIP, or I’d vote for UKIP myself just to spite the Lib Lab Con Trick. The vice versa option is one that the EU won’t offer the Tories. Convention membership is a condition of EU membership.)

      We now have a straight Hobson’s choice, between a UKIP-Tory axis that wants to smash human rights, and a Lib Lab axis that embarrasses itself wearing feminist t-shirts, implying a desire to smash marriage, fatherhood and the nuclear family. It’s enough to make a fellow believe in conspiracy theories. I doubt that I shall find any candidate for whom I willing to vote at the next general election, unless I stand myself, in my home constituency.

  5. raincoaster says:

    Reblogged this on The Cryptosphere and commented:
    Wow. A tyrant who supervised a racial massacre is using Britain as a precedent to say that Human Rights Law does not apply in sovereign nations. An ugly result to an ugly precedent. And potentially a very, very powerful one if copied by other leaders.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB


This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.

Subscribe

Categories


Tags


7/7 Bombings 9/11 A1P1 Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common law communications competition confidentiality consent conservation constitution contact order contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus costs costs budgets Court of Protection crime criminal law Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation DEFRA deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention Dignitas diplomacy disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Family Fatal Accidents Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage gay rights Gaza Gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Gun Control Health HIV Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Human Rights Watch Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests insurance international law internet inuit Iran Iraq Ireland islam Israel Italy IVF ivory ban Japan joint enterprise judaism judicial review Judicial Review reform Julian Assange jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid legal aid cuts Leveson Inquiry lgbtq liability Libel Liberty Libya lisbon treaty Lithuania local authorities marriage Media and Censorship mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery morocco murder music Muslim nationality national security naturism neuroscience NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges Obituary parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury physician assisted death Piracy Plagiarism planning planning system Poland Police Politics Pope press prison Prisoners prisoner votes Prisons privacy private nuisance private use Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecution Protection of Freedoms Act Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest protest rights Protocol 15 Public/Private public access publication public authorities public inquiries public interest immunity quango quarantine Queen's Speech queer in the 21st century R (on the application of EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin) Rabone and another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2 race relations Rachel Corrie Radicalisation rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion resuscitation RightsInfo right to die right to family life right to life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials security services sexual offence Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa Spain special advocates spending cuts Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance Syria Tax Taxi technology Terrorism terrorism act tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe

Disclaimer


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: