n South African Law Journal - Balancing human rights and national security

Volume 124, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



This contribution considers how the delicate balance between human rights and national security should be drawn in the age of global terrorism. From the vantage point of the Belmarsh case, it analyses the burden of the courts, on the one hand, to respect the executive's duty to frame legislation which protects citizens and, on the other, to subject such legislation to appropriate scrutiny. Thereafter the legislation adopted by Parliament to combat terrorism is dealt with. Lastly, the position in some other jurisdictions is summarized and the conclusion is drawn that the courts should be mindful of the fact that the principles applied in emergencies might in future also be applied in normal circumstances; and that, therefore, proportionality is a key concept in finding the right balance between liberty and security.

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