Saturday, December 17, 2016

Reema Omer writes about Pakistan's about-to-sunset 21st Amendment

Reema Omer writes here about the 21st Amendment courts in Pakistan. Her conclusion:
When the 21st Amendment expires in less than a month Pakistan will be back to where it was two years ago. Judges and witnesses will continue to be vulnerable to security risks and issues of capacity and training of law enforcement agencies will continue to weaken the administration of justice and the rule of law. 
The frustration with impunity for terrorism and other serious crimes in Pakistan is legitimate, but there are no “quick fixes” to a crisis caused by decades of neglect. Ensuring justice — as opposed to executing people in large numbers and convicting suspects without the fair and impartial adjudication of responsibility — will require major rethinking and reform of the criminal justice system. 
It will require ensuring that human rights, including basic guarantees of the right to a fair trial, are at all times protected; learning from the successes and failures of other jurisdictions that face similar security threats; and drawing from the actual everyday experiences of judges, lawyers and investigators, not hasty and ill-conceived measures motivated by the desire for revenge at the cost of fundamental principles of fairness. 
The government missed the opportunity to do so two years ago after the APS [Army Public School] tragedy. It must not make the same mistakes again.

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