The Tanzanian Constitution and international and regional human rights law guarantee respect of human rights, equal protection under the law, and due process rights. Tanzania has ratified several major international treaties guaranteeing these rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As a party to these major international human rights conventions, Tanzania has an obligation to ensure that its laws and practices are in conformity.
The actions of the Tanzanian government's security forces violated numerous provisions of international law. All governments have a universally recognized obligation to ensure that their citizens are free from extra-legal or arbitrary killings. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees every human being the inherent right to life and states that "[t]his rights shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."
Governments also have a duty to prosecute serious violations of physical integrity under international law under article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Committee, which monitors the compliance of all state parties with the International Covenant, has further held that the state not only has a duty to protect its citizens from such violations, but also to investigate violations when they occur and to bring the perpetrators to justice.194 To ensure effective implementation, the U.N. Economic and Social Council in 1989 adopted the Basic Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. Principle 9 states:
[There] shall be a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where complaints by relatives and other reliable reports suggest unnatural deaths. Governments shall maintain investigative offices and procedures to undertake such inquiries. The purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person responsible, and any pattern or practice which may have brought about that death.195
The use of force by law enforcement officers is strictly governed. Article 3 of the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, states that force may only be used "when strictly necessary to the extent required for the performance of their duty."196 Furthermore, the U.N. Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials requires that law enforcement officials shall not use firearms,
"except in self-defense or defense of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life."197
In the event that firearms are used, principle 10 requires clear warning and sufficient time for the warning to be observed unless inappropriate to the circumstances. Even when the use of firearms is deemed necessary, principle 5 lays out clear guidelines for their use, including:
· Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved;
Police are also required to ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered immediately to injured persons, according to article 6 of the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and principle 6 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
International legal provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights govern the rights of the political opposition in Tanzania to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The Tanzanian Constitution guarantees similar rights, with the provision that such rights may only be restricted during a state of emergency. Likewise, the Zanzibar Constitution states in Article 20: "Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with persons and in particular to form and belong to trade unions or other associations which are legally established or recognized under the existing laws which are for his interest." Yet two other domestic laws compromise these rights: The Political Parties Act (1992) and the Zanzibar Societies Ordinance (1995). Neither restricts the right to hold a demonstration, but both empower the relevant minister to register or de-register parties and nongovernmental groups almost at will, contrary to international standards. These laws should be brought into conformity with international law and the Tanzanian Constitution.
194 See Report of the Human Rights Committee, 37 U.N. GAOR Supp. (no.40), annex V, general comment 7(16), para.1 (1982), U.N. Doc. A/37/40 (1982).
195 Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, adopted by the Economic and Social Council, May 24, 1989, reprinted in "Report by the special rapporteur S. Amos Wako, pursuant to the Economic and Social Council resolution 1988/38, "Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council, E/CN.4/1990/22, January 23, 1990.
196 UN General Assembly Resolution 34/169, December 17, 1979
197 U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 144/28/Rev.1 (1990) adopted at the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana 27 August to September 27 1990, Principle 9.