Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ICJ reports on 5 South Asian countries

The International Commission of Jurists has just issued a 58-page report, No more “missing persons”: The criminalization of enforced disappearance in South Asia, that deserves a close reading. Summarizing the situation in five countries in the region, it observes (pp. 17-18):
The inherent lack of independence from the executive of military tribunals make the use of tribunals unsuitable in cases against civilians or which concern violations of the human rights of civilians. Indeed, such courts have frequently acted in countries around the world to shield those responsible for human rights violations from criminal responsibility for their acts. Trials of persons accused of enforced disappearances as well as other serious violations of human rights should be excluded from the jurisdiction of military criminal courts, even where they are committed by military personnel.21 With regard to enforced disappearance, this exclusion is expressly enshrined in Article 16(2) of the DED. Even though the ICPPED [International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance] does not make express provision concerning military courts, the Committee on Enforced Disappearance has stated that jurisdiction over the offence of forced disappearance should lie with ordinary courts, in terms both of the investigation of the crime and the trial.22
21 See e.g. Principle 29 of the Updated Impunity Principles; and the Draft Principles governing the administration of justice through military tribunals, UN Doc E/CN.4/2006/58.
22 Concluding observations on: France, CED/C/FRA/CO/1, 8 May 2013, paras 24 and 25; Spain, CED/C/ESP/CO/1, 12 December 2013, paras. 15-16; and the Netherlands, CED/C/NLD/CO/1, 10 April 2014, paras. 18-19.

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