Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Judicial independence in Cameroon

Here's a sentence that causes the reader to pause:
On Monday, Judge Edou Mewoutou arrived at the sentencing hearing nine hours late. He did not give a reason for the delay.
 For more on the case click here.

The Jadhav dilemma

Dawn has published this op-ed by former caretaker law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi summarizing Pakistani law as it applies to the case of an Indian citizen who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. It is important reading:
There are two avenues available to Kulbhushan Jadhav and India if they want to challenge his conviction. One, Jadhav himself may file a writ petition for which he would need to obtain a no-objection certificate from the federal government as per the requirement of Section 83 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC). The second option is that the Indian state itself may invoke Section 84 CPC and appear before the courts of Pakistan as a petitioner.

Section 83 CPC bars alien enemies residing in Pakistan from suing in the courts without the permission of the federal government. The statutory explanation of Section 83 deems an alien enemy as any person whose country is at war with or engaged in military operations against Pakistan. 
The above law is a statutory formulation of a well-recognised public policy doctrine that a state’s judicial apparatus shall not facilitate the enemy and neither will a state make available its remedies to the enemy. This public policy doctrine has been enshrined in the civil procedure codes of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judgement (PLD 1969 SC 37) has explicitly stated that Section 83 was a complete bar for an enemy alien.

In another judgement reported as PLD 1966 Karachi (WP) 161, the high court observed that: “This law [Section 83] … was grounded upon public policy which forbids doing of acts that will be or may be to the advantage of the enemy state by increasing its capacity for prolonging hostilities…” 
It was further observed that: “To allow an alien enemy to sue or proceed during war in the courts of the king would be to give to the enemy the advantage of enforcing his rights by the assistance of the king with whom he is at war.” 
The court further held that: “In international law, fighting between two countries can take place without a formal declaration of war.” 
This was due to the enactment of the UN Charter in 1945 after which the states stopped issuing declarations of war and instead resorted to mostly covert tactics of organising or financing military operations against each other. 
Thus, the federal government while examining a request by Jadhav under Section 83 CPC will need to come to a conclusion about whether Jadhav’s activities are to be viewed as an act of waging a covert war on the part of the Indian state. For that purpose, it will be guided by the language of sections 121, 121-A and 122 of the Pakistan Penal Code that sum up the concept of waging war, or its attempt or its conspiracy within the territories of Pakistan. An identical provision in the Indian Penal Code has been widely interpreted by several reported cases of the Indian Supreme Court. 
As mentioned here, the state of India may also consider filing the case itself on behalf of Jadhav before the Pakistani courts under Section 84 of the CPC, since its foreign minister has conclusively owned Jadhav as the “son of India” in her address before India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha. The said section authorises foreign states to become petitioners before local courts in the following words: 
“84(1) A foreign state may sue in any court … Provided, that the object of the suit is to enforce a private right vested in the head of such state or in any officer of such state in his public capacity.” 
If Section 83 was to be invoked given the existing material available through open sources, it may be ruled that Jadhav is an enemy alien. In this regard, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had earlier taken note of possible foreign connections of terrorist acts in the military courts judgement PLD 2015 SC 401. The court had observed that “we are in a warlike situation”. It further observed that “persons involved in the armed conflict against the state not only include foreigners but there are also indications of foreign funding and instigation”. Only months after the announcement of this judgement, Jadhav was arrested. 
The federal government can only grant permission to Jadhav under Section 83 CPC if there is evidence to suggest that covert hostilities have ceased. There has been no statement or any other indication from the government of India to suggest that they regret the unlawful activities of Jadhav or that they will discontinue from carrying out such activities in the future. There is no offer even to adhere to the principle of non-intervention.
In the absence of any such statement or undertaking by India, the federal government will have no choice except to make an executive determination that India is not discontinuing its efforts of waging war inside Pakistan.
Given Mr Soofi's summary of Pakistani law, one must infer that unless peace were to suddenly break out, the only way out of the current predicament is a political arrangement between the two countries, such as a prisoner exchange, rather than legal proceedings. The recent hangings of Pakistani citizens who were condemned by military courts adds to the urgency of the two states' interactions. 

Cameroon military court hands journalist a 10-year sentence

Amnesty International reports that a Cameroonian military court has handed down a 10-year sentence And $90,000 fine to Ahmed Abba, a Radio France International journalist. "Amnesty International considers that Ahmed Abba’s trial was marred by irregularities, including witnesses not being called to testify and key documents not being shared with defence lawyers." He was convicted of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts” but acquitted of "glorifying acts of terrorism."

Monday, April 24, 2017

La croissance surprenante du bureau du Juge-Avocat Général

This text points to the surprising growth of the office of the Judge-Advocate General. It shows an increase of 256% of its legal staff since 1997 while the number of military members of the regular force has decreased from 70,000 in 1997 to 65,000 in 2017.

La croissance surprenante du bureau du Juge-Avocat Général nous rappelle cette fable de Jean de Lafontaine intitulée "La grenouille qui veut se faire aussi grosse que le boeuf".

Ayant vu un boeuf de belle taille, la grenouille qui n'était pas grosse en tout comme un boeuf décida d'égaler le boeuf en grosseur, De dire l'illustre fabuliste, "La chétive Pécore s'enfla si bien qu'elle creva". Je ne crois pas que ce soit là le destin du bureau du JAG mais, ceci dit, un régime minceur paraît s'imposer dans les circonstances. Voyons les chiffres actuels selon les données que j'ai reçues.

De 1997 à 2017 les effectifs juridiques du bureau du JAG se sont ainsi accrus:

Rangs, avocats militaires de la Force régulière:

                                   1997                     2003                   2013                  2017

Major-général                                                                        1                        1

Brigadier-général           1                           1

Colonel                          6                           8                         10                      8

Lt-Colonel                     23                         27                       32                      28

Major                             41                         49                       102                    108

Capitaine                       10                         40                        23                      62

Total:                             81                         125                      168                    207

En 1997, la Force régulière comptait 70,000 effectifs. En 2017 elle n'en compte plus que 65,000. De 1997 à 2017, l'augmentation des effectifs juridiques du JAG est de l'ordre de 256%.

En prenant ces chiffres, cela signifie que le bureau du JAG compte une ratio d'un avocat par groupe de 314 militaires alors que la ratio civile à l'échelle canadienne est d'un avocat par groupe de 454 citoyens. Si les effectifs des Forces canadiennes de 1997 avaient connu une augmentation du même ordre que celle du bureau du JAG, celles-ci disposeraient en 2017 d'une armée de 180,200 membres alors que, tel que ci-haut mentionné, elle n'en compte que 65,000.

Dans un tel contexte le taux d'accroissement des effectifs juridiques se veut pour le moins surprenant.

Alleged abuse, humiliation occurred at Canadian Forces bases

On April 24, 2016 CBC News reports that alleged abuse of Canadian soldiers at the hands of their own military during training exercises was widespread in the 80’s and 90s. 

This report followed a more detailed report by CBC News broadcasted on The National on April 10, 2017 that alleged torture by a dozen of ex-soldiers took place in 1984 at Camp Wainwright, Alberta.   

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jon Vance, has yet to respond to these allegations. Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, calls what happened to the soldiers “an embarrassment to Canadians.”