Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How will Pakistan's new military courts work?

The News International has this useful report on how Pakistan's new 21st Amendment military courts will work. From it we learn:

  • the new courts' jurisdiction will extend to terrorism, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom
  • regular police will investigate cases, either alone or with military authorities
  • the Interior Ministry can only send to military courts cases that have been approved for transfer by provincial authorities
  • a Standard Operating Procedure has been developed
  • military courts were inevitable because the state has been unable to provide the necessary security for civilian judges trying high-profile terrorism cases
The last bullet is fascinating, as it means that only military officers can be afforded the necessary security. If so, how come it was possible for terrorists to attack the public school that serves military officers, with such devastating effects? If judicial security is the driving reason for the new courts, it doesn't wash. If judicial security is going to be the highest priority, that implies that trials will be held in perfectly secure surroundings by faceless judges. Meaning the venue will be military facilities not accessible by the public.

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