Judicial Killings And Judicial System Of Bangladesh

Extra Judicial Killings by law enforcement agencies are now very common in Bangladesh. Though there is no legal definition of an extrajudicial killing. An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. [1] So, we can say that if a death is caused by a law enforcement official without following the legal rules or due judicial process, it can be considered extrajudicial.

‘Crossfire’ or ‘encounters’ are very common kinds of extra judicial killing in Bangladesh. Upon the killings of these people, the police and RAB [2] authorities have informed the media that the victims died after engaging in crossfire. These extra judicial killings are seriously diminishing public faith on judicial system [3] of Bangladesh. I totally do agree with this statement. Generally the people of Bangladesh don’t have much more confidence about the judicial system. These kinds of extra judicial killing totally diminish their faith and believe.

Some people think that in the name of crossfire, most of the terrorist are killed which is good for society. Their perception clearly indicates that they have no faith about the judicial system. They think if those terrorist will gone through under judicial process [4] , by somehow they will escape and again start their own activities. Sometimes we see that, in the name of crossfire some innocent people are also killed, that will be negatively effect on people’s perception on the judicial system. In Bangladesh, every person has the right to seek a trial. So without any trial or justification these kinds of extra judicial killings will not be supported.

Extra judicial killing indicates the weakness of the judicial system of the country. An extra Judicial killing is also treated as unlawful killing and these killings is also against humanity. Our constitution does not support those kinds of killings. So I think extra judicial killings diminish public faith on judicial system of Bangladesh.

Extra Judicial Killings in Bangladesh:

Since the formation of the RAB, there has been a rising trend of "deaths in crossfire." The number of deaths in RAB custody is also alarming. People have been killing in the name of "crossfire." The police have also such ‘Extrajudicial killings’,’ encounters’, etc. killings are again on the rise and are being categorized under a new vocabulary of "crossfire". The government tries to justify the killings by using the term "crossfire," which it refers to as gunfights between any alleged criminal group and the RAB or police. Some of the authorities try to establish that Criminals cannot have human rights they argue that those who are killed in crossfire or an encounter are all criminals.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) [5] has received information from a reliable source regarding the increasingly common practice of extra-judicial killings by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. [6] The police and Special Forces, established to reduce the crime rate, have stated that these deaths were the result of crossfire and that it was the victims who fired first. Many questions are rounding in our minds. Because, High Court orders, national and international voice against extra judicial killings, Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights nowhere allowed killings and torturing.

The media's role regarding extrajudicial killings covered up under reports of “crossfire", “gunfights" or “encounters" is negative and constrained. A few human rights organizations have long been asking the government to stop the killings. Moreover, the High Court of Bangladesh, asked the government to explain why killing people without a trial, in the form of extrajudicial killings, is not being declared as illegal, and why measures are not being taken against the people who are related with those killings. After this ruling, we still haven't seen anything happen.

The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights day after day since 2002 specially when did the operation clean heart starts. Now the situation is more complex day by day. We see any government doesn’t seriously work to stop those kinds of extra judicial killings in Bangladesh.

Violation of Law:

In Bangladesh, the law says minimum force should be applied to arrests and every person has the right to seek a trial. In the cases of "crossfire" and "encounters," however, we find that these legal provisions are being totally ignored.

Article 31 [7] of the constitution of Bangladesh [8] states: "To enjoy the protection of law, and to be treated in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law."

The constitution's Article 32 [9] ensures the protection of the right to life and personal liberty in accordance with the law. Because of the consequences of such deprivation, the drafters of the constitution made this specific provision of protection even though these rights were already covered by Article 31. Each case of encounter killing causes hamper to democracy and the rule of law. The existing legal framework does not allow encounter killing. Such a concept cannot co-exist with constitutionalism, rule of law and the principles of democracy.

It is unfortunate that many people in Bangladesh today still experience violations of their human rights that include custodial torture, extra-judicial killing and various other abuses of authority and power. On the one hand, the government has guaranteed a ‘Zero tolerance’ [10] to extra-judicial killings, but on the other hand, it doesn’t take any action against the personnel of security forces that violates these rights. Every case of murder at the hands of the law enforcement agencies is an act of crime committed by the state and it is a negation of the principles of natural justice. Encounter killing is a violation of the fundamental rights.

Extra judicial killing have been going on by the violating of highest court ruling ordered. Not only have that by this killing the Bangladesh government is violating the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore recommend a systemic criminal justice mechanism in Bangladesh in order to ensure establishment of the rule of law and promotion of human rights and also stop those extra judicial killing.

Diminishing the faith of the people:

The term “extrajudicial killing" means execution without justice. This is a grave human rights violation. It's both a violation of Bangladesh's constitution and of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The constitution of Bangladesh also safeguards the right to life. The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 2002 [11] . Bangladesh does not ensure the right to life and has not complied with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitution of Bangladesh.

One of the principles of law is that "man cannot be the judge of his own cause." Extrajudicial killing, i.e., crossfire’s, shootouts and encounters, would violate this legal principle. There is no guarantee for an impartial investigation into alleged misdeeds of law enforcement agencies which are part of the executive. Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent, fair and competent. Judiciary [12] will interpret and apply the laws that govern us. Everyone must respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in our legal system. The Code of Judicial Conduct is intended to establish standards for the code of ethical [13] conduct of judges.

Judicial system should be symbol of justice. Every people should keep faith and believe on the judicial system. But in Bangladesh, the picture is different. People do not have faith and believe because of the extra judicial killings. They think, our judicial system are not execute properly. Government always says that they are against those killings, but their work and attitude do not show that picture. That actually indicates that extra judicial killings diminish the faith and believe of the general people in Bangladesh.

Steps should be taken by the Government:

The present situation of extra judicial killing is alarming for not only the people’s faith on judicial systems, also the image for Bangladesh. So government should think seriously about the problem and needs to take some proper steps to stop those killings. Some of the steps that government should take to stop those killings are given below:

▪ Independent judicial inquiries [14] into these killings should be carried out.

▪ Government should always follow the legal rules or due judicial process.

▪ Ensure the right of every individual to a fair trial. [15] 

▪ Government should always follow the constitution and never violate these.

▪ Government also follow the instruction of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [16] and other organizations which are working for human rights. [17] 

▪ Government must also establish an effective mechanism whereby victims and their families can lodge complaints regarding these killings.

▪ Government needs to establish a special and independent agency designed solely for the purpose of investigating these cases of extra-judicial killings.

▪ Full punishment must be laid against them if it is found that they are guilty of such deaths. Compensation should be provided to the victim’s families and giving proper security of their normal life.

Conclusion:

Extra-judicial killings under the pretext of crossfire shootings must not be tolerated. The law enforcement agencies must be aware of this and informed that they will be careful for any future conduct of this nature. As for those killings that have already occurred, the government must ensure that an independent agency investigate this matter. Allowing local police or army branches to investigate these cases would prevent any form of impartiality in the investigations. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person in our constitution. Extrajudicial killings continue even in violation of the High Court's ruling. It's very alarming for human rights, democracy and the right to life. Extrajudicial killings, in fact, can neither bring peace nor eradicate "terrorism." Every person has the right to a fair trial; and before any trial, no one can be killed by law enforcement officials extra judicially.

Government has to take proper step to stop those extra judicial killings. Extra judicial killing is not only bad for keeping people’s faith on the judicial system, it also bad for the image of the government and also the country. Different international organizations, local organization and also general people are now talking about extra judicial killings and they raise their voice against those killings. So we hope government will consider those situation to stop those extra judicial killing and establish public’s faith on the judicial system of Bangladesh.