ely to produce great bodily injury” and with assault “under color of authority.” This triggered massive riots in the streets of Los Angeles, now referred to as the LA Riots, and is known to be one of the worst and most destructive civil disturbances in the history of melting-pot State. More than fifty people lost their lives in the three-day frenzy of violence. The main cause of furor was the belief that the police violence was racially-motivated and the ferocity of the attack would not have happened if Rodney King were white.
As unfortunate as the outcome was, the incident could be said to be a good learning tool in that it invites us to revisit the issue of police brutality and the question of whether or not such brutality by law enforcement officers made while in the line of duty actually result in effective law enforcement. And if it were so – i.e., if apprehension of criminals was actually more certain if the police engage in strong-arm tactics – is this enough reason to bend or relax human rights standards in the Constitution and in various human rights instruments?
Legal systems in the civilized world – whether in civil or common law jurisdictions -- have, at least in theory, given primacy to the rights of the accused, understanding that ambiguity should be resolved in his or her favor. This, however, does not mean that one must let down his or her vigilance and stop guarding against possible infringement of constitutional guarantees by overzealous judges, particularly at a time when human rights advocacy for the accused has been made unpopular by the rising rate of crime. It used to be that the primacy of the State is the core principle of the international legal regime as it is traditionally known. This, however, has been challenged by the alarming rise of state-sponsored human rights violations that has prodded the community of nations to recognize that its more pressing duty is to protect the individual from systemic and institutional