Today, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, we witnessed the best and the worst of British justice at work.
In the morning, there was the historic decision in favour of the three victims of the British Colonial authorities during the Mau Mau suppression. In essence, British courts told the world that where our government had breached the human rights of people around the world, then providing the victims were still alive, they could still have recourse to justice in theUK.
In Kenya we know there are thousands of people, still alive who suffered torture and abuse at the hands of the old Colony and thankfully, these people will be able to benefit from this ruling today. The judgment also gives hope to those people who suffered ill-treatment during the colonial eras at the hands of British officials or soldiers in other countries like Malaya, Cyprus, Aden & Palestine as well as in more recent times in Iraq & Afghanistan.
It is truly a historic judgement which will have repercussions for years to come and I’m sure the Foreign and Commonwealth Office won’t like it one bit. It is, nonetheless, an important signpost to the world showing that we do have a justice system that is second to none.
In the afternoon however, British subjects Babar Ahmad & Talha Ahsan were denied the same access to the British Justice system as their appeal to the High Court failed to stop their imminent extradition to the USA to be tried for terrorism charges. Many would say this is simply outsourcing criminal justice system when we have a legal system which is world renowned.
In my view, these extraditions bring shame on Britain and our legal system. However unpopular the accused and whatever the nature of the charges, if the offences are alleged to have been carried out here and evidence has been gathered by the British police then there is no reason whatsoever why these two British suspects, who live in London should not be brought to justice here and punished accordingly if found guilty. Could you imagine if the accused were US citizens wanted by the British for terrorism offences committed on US soil being extradited to the UK! Of course this would never happen and in doing so the British courts have surrendered UK sovereignty to the US.