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Variations: "The chief purpose of government is to protect life. But, as the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, pointed out in paras 7 and 8 of his Opinion 1/2002 on certain aspects of the United Kingdom's derogation from article 5(1) dated 28 August 2002, the separation of powers whereby the government's legislative proposals are subject to the approval of Parliament and, on enactment, to review by the courts is a constitutive element of democratic government. I would not conclude from the material which we have seen that there was no current emergency. Pros Cons The idea that the government shall protect its citizens stands at the beginning of American constitutional thought. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. It has to be recognised that, as the attacks are likely to come without warning, it may not be possible to identify a stage when they can be said to be imminent. It is to protect and safeguard the rights of the individual. But in my opinion it is nevertheless open to the judiciary to examine the nature of the situation that has been identified by government as constituting the emergency, and to scrutinise the submission by the Attorney General that for the appellants to be deprived of their fundamental right to liberty does not exceed what is "strictly required" by the situation which it has identified. But in some cases it may be perfectly obvious from the outset that it will last for a very long time, perhaps indefinitely. There is no safe country to which they can be extradited, but they are free to leave the United Kingdom at any time if they wish and can find another safe country to which they can go. So it would be dangerous to ignore the context in which the judgment is to be exercised. I said that the power of detention is at present confined to foreigners and I would not like to give the impression that all that was necessary was to extend the power to United Kingdom citizens as well. (2) Are the measures strictly required by the exigencies of the situation which has arisen? But in my opinion this shows a misunderstanding of what is meant by "threatening the life of the nation". The first duty of any government is the safety its citizens. Quotation: "The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.    123.  The Attorney General said that the first priority of the government is to prosecute those whom it suspects of being involved in international terrorism.

It has an extended meaning - a situation of pressing need. But I would conclude that the emergency which the threats constitute is of a different kind, or on a different level, from that which would undoubtedly ensue if the threats were ever to materialise. Final responsibility for determining whether they do exceed these limits must lie with the courts, if the test which article 15(1) lays down is to be applied within the domestic system with all the rigour that its wording indicates.    98.  I wish at the outset to pay tribute to the way which my noble and learned friend Lord Bingham of Cornhill has described the background to this case and set out all the relevant materials. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. (1) Is the situation facing the High Contracting Party a public emergency which threatens the life of the nation? The basic principle is that the right belongs to everyone, whoever they may be and wherever they may have come from, who happen to be within the Contracting State's territory. We are dealing with actions taken on behalf of society as a whole which affect the rights and freedoms of the individual. On 15 October 2001 the Secretary of State said in the House of Commons that there was no immediate intelligence pointing to a specific threat to the United Kingdom: see Hansard (HC Debates, col 925).
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