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Extra Judicial Punishments and Killings

Info: 2395 words (10 pages) Essay
Published: 26th Aug 2021

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Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK LawEU LawBangladeshi Law

Extra Judicial Killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or any legal process [1] . Extrajudicial Punishments are unlawful by nature, because they break the process of legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Most of the times Extra Judicial Killing targets the leading politicians, religious figures, trade unions leaders and sometimes socially popular figures. Extra Judicial killings are carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces and police.

Extrajudicial can be written like this ex·tra·ju·di·cial , that means-

  1. Outside the authority of the court
  2. Outside of the usual judicial proceeding. [2]

If any killing occurs by the law reinforcement battalion of the country outside the authority of the court will be known as extrajudicial killing [3] .It’s a violation in democracy. Cause Democracy is based on the right of human. And thus it also termed with rules and regulation. Civil court has the authority to give order on execution and it’s the highest state of the land. As a Democratic country Bangladesh is up against extrajudicial killing.

Extrajudicial killing- History in context:

Extrajudicial killing basically started from the very beginning of civilization. When the lust for power arose the killing began in the form of assassination. People like Julies César fell victim of extrajudicial killing. During the civil war there is a term used as ‘lynching’. Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob a, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish a alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control or otherwise manipulate a population of people of people, however large or small [4] .Today lynching is defined in the united state by some code of law “any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person which result in the death of the person” [5] .

In Europe early example of a similar phenomenon are found in the proceedings of the vehmgerichte in medieval Germany and of Lyford Law, Gibbet Law or Halifax law in England and Cowper justice and Jeddart justice in Scotland. In Imperial Russia anti Jewish lynching’s called Pogoms occurred in the 19th-early 20th centuries [6] .

In Britain a series of race riots broke out in several cities in 1919 between whites and black sailors. In Liverpool, after a black sailor had been stabbed by two whites in a pub, his friend attack pubbed in revenge. In response, the police raided lodging houses with black occupants, accompanied by an “enraged lynch mob’. Charles Wotton, a young black seaman who had not been involved in the attack was chased into the river Mersey and drowned after being pelted missiles thrown by the mob. The Charles Wotton College in Liverpool was named after his memory [7] .

In 1944, Wolfgang Rosterg, a German prisoner of war known to be unsympathetic to the Nazi regime, was lynched by Nazis in Paw Camp 21 in Comrie, Scotland. After the end of war five of the perpetrators were hanged at Pentonville Prison-the largest multiple executions in 20th century Britain [8] . There are also approximately 150 confirmed cases of surviving crew members of crashed allied aircraft being lynched by German civilians, soldiers or police man. Nazi propagandists termed “Allied terror bombing”. This was further promoted by Nazi officials through secret orders that prohibited policemen and soldiers from interfering in the favor of the enemy in conflicts between civilians and allied forces or prosecuting who engaged in such acts [9] .

Crossfire-newest form of extrajudicial killing:

Killing by law enforcement agencies are common in Bangladesh. In 1972,the paramilitary group Jtiya Rakkhi Bahini came into force and had become infamous for its extrajudicial executions until it was absorbed into the army in 1975. Now, since the formation of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in March 2004 [10] , such killings are again on the rise and are being categorized under a new vocabulary of “crossfire”, “extrajudicial killings”, “encounters” etc.

The government tries to justify the killings by using the term “crossfire” [11] , which it refers to gunfight between any alleged criminal group or “hardened” criminals and the RAB or police. The term “death in an encounter” is used in other countries to mean the same thing, but the term “crossfire” is preferred by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. The sinister connotation associated with the word demonstrates the utter powerlessness of the people facing extrajudicial killings that are taking place in Bangladesh.

Though there is no legal definition of an extrajudicial killing, if a death is caused by a law enforcement official without following the legel rules or due judicial process, it can be considered extrajudicial.

Crossfire is an extrajudicial execution that is in the flagrant violation of Bangladesh’s constitution and the international human rights conventions of which the country is a party.”

Although some people believe that extrajudicial killing of hardened criminals helps ease the problem of “terrorism”, in reality, it encourages lawlessness and aggravates ‘state terrorism’. In different countries across the world, people in power have created an impression that killing “terrorist” without bringing them to justice can help curb “terrorism”, but such extrajudicial, in fact, can neither bring peace nor eradicate “terrorism”.

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.

The RAB, which has been in operation since June 2004, was set up in March 2004 by amending the Armed Police Battalions Ordinance of 1979 and enacting a new law, the Armed Police Battalions [12] . It is assigned to investigate any offense under the direction of the government and has exclusive jurisdiction in this regard. It can investigate and work for all security purpose, especially as an elite law and order enforcement agency with a special focus on curbing organized crime and eliminating top criminals. It basically tackle extreme situation.

The police have also been killing people in the name of “crossfire” [13] . To defend the law enforcement agencies, the government argues that those who are killed in crossfire or an encounter are all criminals. “Criminals cannot have human rights.” State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar commented on the RAB’s first anniversary on March 26th of 2006.

Although the law and order situation has improved after the formation of the RAB and other auxiliary forces, like the Cheetah and Cobra units of the police, and the public seems to be happy with it, one cannot justify this type of killing from the humanitarian and legal points of view. Every person has the right to a fair trial; and before any trial, no one can be killed by law enforcement officials extra judicially.

Violation of law and public faith on it:

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

Article 31 of the constitution of Bangladesh 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 person of any person shall be taken except in accordance with the law”.

What is implicit in Articles 31 and 32 is the right to access to justice, and it cannot be said that this right has been dealt with in accordance with the law unless a person has a reasonable opportunity to approach the court in vindication of their right or grievance. Even a fugitive is entitled to a legal defense when the death penalty is involved.

A law providing for the deprivation of life or personal liberty must be objectively reasonable, and the court will inquire whether for an ordinary prudent person such a law is reasonable, having regard to the compelling, and not merely legitimate, governmental interest. It must be shown that the security of the state or of society necessitates the deprivation of one’s life and personal liberty.

When the recent incidents of crossfire are studied, a common pattern that can be found is that victims were arrested and killed in what is termed as”crossfire,” an “encounter” or a shootout during crackdowns on illegal firearms or the arrest of criminals in deserted places, mostly in the early hours. This trend has become a cliché?

Still, according to the police regulations of Bengal (PRB), firearms should not be used other than in emergencies. The uses of firearms are applicable in three situations: for self-protection and possessing of property, for foiling an illegal gathering and, in some cases, for making an arrest [14] . The PRB mandates a full executive probe regarding any use of firearms. Investigators are required to send the report to the government and submit a copy to the police’s top leadership.

Now people, who supported crossfire at the beginning, now are furious about current occurrence. RAB are now been reported to force people to give them money or they have been shot at spot. Now the faith of people on our law is now going down towards the bottom and it will continue going down if no measure taken soon.


Each time a person is killed by the RAB or the police, the government, in effect, casts a vote of no confidence in the judiciary. Each time a person is denied trail, the legal system of the country is undermined. Each time the law enforcing agencies are allowed to randomly “kill” a suspect, the government creates a Frankenstein. Each time police or RAB take a person’s life without the due process of law, the government itself becomes a lawbreaker and reduces itself, in a sense to the level of those that it is trying to punish. An inevitable consequence of this process is that the legally constituted greatly loses its moral authority to government.

The core feature that distinguishes a cilized society from an uncivilized society from an uncivilized one that the former is governed by law and the latter is not. A vital portion of that feature is the principle that “no one is above the law”., from the highest office holder to the most disadvantaged individual. The modern state, through the organ of the judiciary, has been given the power to put someone to death. We underscore the fact that the judiciary is the only organ of the state, not the executive or legislative that enjoys this exceptional power. The judiciary has been allowed this power under very special circumstances and that also after a thorough and lengthy process of law has been completed. Why has so many preconditions been imposed on the judiciary before it can exercise its power of sentencing to death? Simply because life is the Creator’s greatest gift to Humankind and the “Right to Life” is the most fundamental of University recognized human rights, and once taken it can never been restored.

The “crossfire” phenomenon has demolished our claim to be a society under law. Today we have a special force that has been empowered to kill. Not only can it kill at will, it can literally pick up anybody with significant, insignificant or no criminal record and put him(so far there has not been any woman) to the so-called crossfire and kill him. We have also learnt that people who have been otherwise killed in custody is shown to have died in a “crossfire” , it can be called a murder, because this is not a section of the law enforcement machinery that has gone astray and is on a killing spree on its own without the knowledge of the authority. No, this is a specially constituted and trained body that has been given the ‘go ahead’ authority by a democratically (!!!)elected government to kill people with a high record of criminal activity. Well Democracy basically does not hold that to kill people without any authority from the judiciary or court. So if the name, Democratic Republic of Bangladesh wants to exist without any argue, these murderous executions should have to be stopped.

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