Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'Time' will be the best answer:

HRC asks lawmen to stop extrajudicial killing

By Shahiduzzaman, The Human Rights Commission, reconstituted on June 22, has asked the law enforcement agencies to stop extrajudicial killings in ‘crossfire’ or ‘encounter’ and custodial killings warning them that it would show ‘zero tolerance’ towards such incidents.

The commission has also asked the police and the Rapid Action Battalion to conduct impartial and acceptable inquiries into such incidents  
and has given some directives for the law enforcement agencies in preventing further recurrence of extrajudicial or custodial killing. The commission gave the directives to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner, AKM Shahidul Haque, and the Rapid Action Battalion director general, Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, who were called in by the commission on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

The Human Rights Commission is considering recommending amendment to the laws making provisions for independent inquiries into each of the incidents of alleged extrajudicial or custodial killings or disappearance of any person after being picked up by the law enforcers, the commission chairman, Mizanur Rahman, told New Age on Tuesday.

The chiefs of the battalion and the metropolitan police assured the commission of conducting impartial inquiries into each of such incidents and taking appropriate steps to stop the recurrence of such incidents, he said. Asked whether the commission would conduct any inquiry into the recent three incidents of killings allegedly in custody in the city, Mizanur said the High Court on Monday ordered an independent inquiry into the incidents.

The High Court on Monday ordered forming an independent investigation committee composed of people other than the policemen to investigate the alleged killing of transport worker Mujibur Rahman, auto-rickshaw driver Babul Gazi and businessman Mizanur Rahman, who were killed recently in the city allegedly after being picked up by the police.

‘The matter is now pending with the High Court. We will wait for the independent inquiry to be conducted in accordance with the High Court order,’ he said. Former National Human Rights Commission chairman Justice Amirul Kabir Chowdhury earlier repeatedly recommended that the government should carry out independent inquiries of each of the allegations of extrajudicial killing.

On June 21, at a briefing at the commission launching its annual report towards the fag end of his tenure as chairman of the commission, Amirul Kabir said, ‘Each of the incidents should be investigated by an independent inquiry committee of at least three members, composed of a government official not below the rank of deputy secretary, a police officer not below the rank of superintendent of police and a civil society personality of the choice of the victim’s family.’

He came up with the recommendation on December 6, 2009 when he submitted the annual commission report to the president. Asked about his predecessor’s recommendation, the incumbent chairman of the commission Mizanur Rahman said, ‘If any inquiry into any of the incidents of alleged extrajudicial or custodial killings appears to have not been impartial or acceptable, the commission must exercise its statutory powers and, if necessary, we will go to court.’

The investigation by a law enforcement agency in a case, in which any person of the same agency is accused, is against the principle of natural justice and such cases need independent inquiries by a competent agency other than the agency concerned, he observed.

‘We have conveyed our concerns about such inquiries and asked the chiefs of RAB and the DMP to ensure an impartial and acceptable inquiry into any such incident keeping in mind the principle of natural justice,’ Mizanur said.

The commission on Tuesday also told the RAB chief the commission had earlier repeatedly asked the battalion to conduct impartial inquiries into a number of incidents of alleged extrajudicial killings but the battalion did not turn in.

The commission will not tolerate such procrastination in future, the commission told the RAB chief. The commission came up with the move against the backdrop that the commission was receiving allegations regarding disappearance people after being picked up by the law enforcers.

After the meeting with the RAB chief, Mizanur told reporters the commission was dealing with five such cases of disappearance. ‘The allegations are worth probing. Legal action will be taken after investigation,’ the RAB chief said after the meeting.

According to one of the cases of disappearance pending with commission, Tusher Islam Titu was picked up allegedly by RAB 3 officials from Sirajganj on July 22, 2008. Following media reports, the commission took the case into its consideration and recently had a meeting with Titu’s family.

According to another allegation, Monayem was picked up from Barisal on December 1, 2007 by RAB men and he has been missing since then. Monayem’s father lodged a complaint with the commission on December 1, 2008.

Another victim, Babu, was picked up by RAB personnel on May 13, 2009 from his house at Mirpur in the capital and he has been missing since then. Babu’s brother filed an allegation with the commission on January 3, 2010.

After January 6, 2009, when the Awami League-led government had assumed office, 202 people were killed in incidents such as ‘crossfire’, ‘encounter’ or ‘gunfight’ across the country.

The Awami League in its election manifesto pledged that ‘extrajudicial killings will be stopped.’ Forty-seven people have been killed in such incidents since the High Court on December 14, 2009 asked the authorities not to kill any more people in ‘crossfire’ or ‘encounter’ until it hears a rule it issued suo moto on the government in connection with extrajudicial killings.

3 comments:

  1. Dated on December 14, 2009, the High Court has 'ordered' to the law enforcement agencies and to the government to stop extra judicial killing in Bangladesh. Since then, 47 people has been killed.

    Now Human Rights Commission 'asked' to the Lawmen and held a meeting to stop the Extra Judicial Killing in Bangladesh!

    Where the Judiciary branch of the state ordered and the Executive Branch does not care about the order and still continue the number of the extra judicial killing up to 47 even after the order from Judiciary department, do you think this meeting can be fruitful?

    We remain optimistic....

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  2. We have to be optimistic

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    ReplyDelete