Strong legal argument

Delivering the annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture at Hampstead Synagogue, Baroness Kennedy argued that while law and democracy are the pillars of British society, it is the law which is paramount.

The human-rights and civil-liberties specialist pointed out that there are currently 80 cases of alleged Islamic terrorism awaiting trial.

Trying to take short-cuts would only lead to unsafe convictions and thus should be avoided.

Although one impulse to the threat of terrorism was to withdraw the rights of some, judges should fight to maintain the human rights of everyone.

Reminding her audience of the House of Lords’ decision that a former head of state (Chile’s Augusto Pinochet) could be extradited from Britain to face charges of crimes against humanity, Baroness Kennedy added: “I hope the time comes that [Robert] Mugabe faces precisely that.”

    Last updated: 4:42pm, July 6 2009