Capital district & sessions courts notified as HR courts

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Zubair Qureshi

The Ministry of Law & JustThe Ministry of Law & Justice on the recommendation of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has designated the two District and Session Courts (East & West) of Islamabad as Human Rights Courts for speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights.

The IHC had directed the federal government to complete the process for establishing and notifying Human Rights Courts within 10 days from the date of receiving the order.

In compliance with the order, a notification for the establishment of HR Courts has been issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The National Commission for Human Rights’ (NCHR) Act 2012 states: “For the purposes of speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights, the Federal Government may, in consultation with Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, by notification in the official Gazette, specify a Court of Sessions to be the Human Rights Court for that District to try such offences.”

In this regard, the Islamabad High Court on October 24, issued directives to the Ministry of Human Rights to take necessary steps for establishment of the HR courts. The court’s directives came after the visit of the IHC judges to Central Jail, Adiala in Rawalpindi. The visit was conducted in connection with a report submitted by the NCHR on Custodial Torture of inmates at the Adiala Jail. A number of jail inmates had also written to the IHC Chief Justice with regard to instance of custodial torture in the jail.

Chairperson NCHR Rabiya Javeri Agha thanked the judiciary, particularly Islamabad High Court, for proactive measures they have taken to support and empower the Commission to do its legally mandated job which is the promotion and protection of Human Rights in the country.

She thanked the former IHC Chief Justice Ather Minallah who is now serving as Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan and the current Chief Justice Amir Farooq for the very timely intervention for the creation of HR courts. “The Human Rights courts will go a long way in ensuring that violations of human rights are addressed and acted upon swiftly and judiciously,” she said.In addition to establishing the HR courts, the IHC had directed the federal government to place copies of inquiry report and the IHC order before the Prime Minister and his Cabinet and asked the Government to take urgent measures to facilitate Commission to effectively undertake its functions so as to prevent human rights abuse in general and implementation of the recommendations made in the inquiry report in particular.

The court also directed the Federal Government to extend assistance to the NCHR in establishing complaint cells in the Central Jail and asked the commission to nominate a representative to visit the jail in order to ensure safety of the whistle blower prisoners.

 

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