Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pakistani newspaper editorial: end the military courts

The News International has run this editorial opposing the extension of the 21st Amendment. Excerpt:
. . . Military courts have lower standards of evidence than regular courts, hold their trials in camera and thus cannot be assessed for fairness, and also take power away from civilian judges. If they are allowed to lapse that would indeed be welcome. 
Still, speedy trial courts are likely not the replacement we need. Although there are no details yet on the remit of these courts, they will only add to the already convoluted judicial system. It is also unclear why speedy trial courts are needed when the existing Anti-Terrorism Courts already play that role. Military courts only heard cases related to militancy and these new courts will probably receive the same remit. But that only raises the question of why the Anti-Terrorism laws have been expanded so much that regular crimes now also full under their purview. The ideal direction for the government to take is to only let the Anti-Terrorism courts hear cases related to actual terrorism and militancy while leaving it to the regular courts to hear all other cases. This would have the virtue of simplifying jurisdiction and lines of authority while adhering to democratic norms. . . .
The 21st Amendment expires in 2 days. 

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