Human Lives Human Rights: Rights groups denounced Kazakhstan’s president order in which he ordered the security forces to “shoot to kill without warning.”
In a televised address on Friday, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev warned demonstrators would be “destroyed” as part of a forceful “counterterrorist” operation.
Responding to his televised address, rights groups said that the authorities in Kazakhstan have a duty to maintain order, but giving blanket approval for police officers and troops to fire without warning is unlawful and a recipe for disaster.
Such order could pave the way for knee-jerk reactions that result in unlawful killings. Unless this order is immediately and clearly revoked, Kazakhstan’s already abysmal human rights record and the ongoing crisis which it has produced are set to get worse.
In almost a week of protests, dozens have been killed, including citizens and police.
The unprecedented crisis marks the worst violence Kazakhstan has seen since gaining independence three decades ago.
The interior ministry said that 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated” and more than 3,000 detained since last weekend, while 18 police and national guard service members had also been killed.
Gunshots could be heard on Friday morning near the central square in the largest city, Almaty, where troops and protesters battled on previous days.
As per the international law, police officers should only ever use lethal force as a last resort. It can only be used when it is strictly necessary, either to protect themselves or others from an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only if all other options to de-escalate the situation have failed.
Security forces must always give clear warning when they are about to open fire – the exception being where doing so would put themselves or others at risk. Not doing so increases the risk of innocent bystanders being seriously injured or killed.
This blanket order not to provide warning is extremely dangerous and alludes to a policy of ‘kill first, think later’.