Saturday, December 20, 2014

Human Rights Watch response to Pakistani reaction to Peshawar school killings

Human Rights Watch has issued a statement criticizing Pakistan's planned response to the brutal attack on a school in Peshawar. Excerpt:
A December 19 media story said that the government is considering the use of military courts to ensure the “speedy trial of terrorists.”
As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Pakistan is obligated to uphold and take measures to ensure basic fair trial rights. Governments are prohibited from using military courts to try civilians when the regular courts are functioning. The Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the ICCPR, has stated in its General Comment [No. 32] on the right to a fair trial that “the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial, and independent administration of justice is concerned.”
“Misusing military courts, a resumption of executions, and denying media access to conflict areas is a recipe for renewed human rights violations rather than a rights-respecting response to militant atrocities,” [HRW's Phelim] Kine said. “The Pakistan government should respect the memory of the Peshawar massacre victims by upholding the rule of law for which the attackers showed such contempt.”

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