Friday, November 14, 2014

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act -- how long can it last?

A short while ago Global Military Justice Reform ran a post about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which effectively immunizes military personnel in some parts of India from criminal prosecution. Now comes a call, in The Nation, for its revision -- by a former Home Minister as reported in this article.
A day after a court martial recommended life sentences for five Army men in the Machil fake encounter case, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Thursday asked the BJP government to bring a Bill to amend the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the Winter session of Parliament. He said the AFSPA was an “obnoxious law” which allows the men in uniform to “act with impunity”. 
Chidambaram said that as Home Minister in 2010, he “initiated the process of repealing, or at least amending AFSPA”, but found stiff resistance from the Armed forces and the Defence Ministry. “It remains an unfinished business,” he said. He welcomed the decision of the court martial recommending life sentence to the Army personnel found guilty of killing three Kashmiris in Machil in 2010.

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