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CJ: Consider citizens' rights in fighting insecurity

15 July 2014, 08:05 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi- Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has called on police officers to adhere to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights to avoid clashes with citizens.

Mutunga said the clash between the law enforcers and citizens is not entirely unhealthy but provides a creative opportunity to advance the country’s progressive democracy.

“The issue is not so much that there may be tensions, but the manner in which these tensions are managed to create and entrench a fledgling democracy in which the force of ideas triumphs over the most unimaginable brutality,” Mutunga said in a speech sent media houses.

“The framers of our Constitution were all too aware that the Bill of Rights subsists alongside national security _ the two are Siamese twins, joined at the navel. Public interest must override all attempts to resolve this contest between securitization and rights,” he added.

The CJ reiterated that both the Judiciary and security agencies need to work together to enhance the adherence to citizens’ Bill of Rights without contravening the constitutional provisions in their implementation mandates.  

“It must never be lost to us that leaders and members of these agencies have all sworn to uphold and protect the entire Constitution, not just those sections that they feel they should,” asserted Mutunga.

He said all actors in the justice sector should agree on a common, unified approach to their work especially by embracing a broader view of national security and human rights as mutually reinforcing.

“Our security objectives will only be met if we encourage the public to buy into them from a position of knowledge and respect rather than fear. I am sure that that is the reason why we changed the name of the Police from a Force to a Service,” asserted the CJ.

He added that judicial officers should not relent in punishing people posing a threat to both human and State security since it is the violation of the law and defeat of justice if left unpunished.

“It is for this reason that a plain reading of Article 49 (1) (h) provides for the Right to Bail and Bond while at the same time giving the judicial officer the discretion to deny this right when there are compelling reasons to do so,” he affirmed.

Mutunga further urged judicial officers, to interpret and apply the law rightly based on judicial notice of the environment in which the law operates.

He said the adherence to the judicial notice in delivering justice contributes to stabilizing democracy and inspires public confidence and commands peer respect.

Mutunga was speaking to participants in the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) function.

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