Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Nation editorial: "Justice and Conscience"

The Nation (Pakistan) has published a powerful editorial concerning the pending supreme court challenges to the country's military courts. Excerpt:
As the letters of an army officer who was a member of one of the military courts, reach Chief Justice [Anwar Zaheer] Jamali, many fears about the military courts have been confirmed. 
The letters suggest that the conduct of military court trials have severe discrepancies. 
Before this revelation, the CJ had already reserved judgments on 14 petitions filed by the family members of the convicts awarded the death sentence by military courts. 
The army officials had maintained that the information that they had received regarding the terrorists being tried by the Special Military Courts would be ‘hardcore’ and all the evidence provided in the shape of interrogation and interment orders would be accurate and true, but the truth seems far from it. 
There were many discrepancies in the interrogation reports and other evidence provided which impeded in making sound judgments on punishments. 
Access to the actual interrogators and the interning officers was denied and no witnesses were produced in front of these courts. 
The most worrisome aspect is that no formal law training was provided to the personnel holding these trials and they had no knowledge of the punishments of different crimes and offences.

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