As India is fighting its case against Pakistan at International Court of Justice against the death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, a United Nations body slammed the system of military courts in that country. A report published by United Nations Committee against Torture last week said Islamabad should stop resorting to military courts for terrorism-related prosecutions. It also said that the country should transfer all the pending cases against civilians to civilian court from military courts. It further added that civilians who have been sentenced by military court should be given an opportunity to appeal the case in front of a civil court.
The report also expressed concern regarding benefits being enjoyed by all personnel associated with military courts under amendment to the Army Act, 2015 which gives them retrospective immunity from prosecution for actions taken in good faith. “The Committee is also concerned by the exclusive jurisdiction of the military justice system over soldiers accused of offences against civilians. It regrets that the State party provided no information suggesting that members of the military, intelligence services, or paramilitary forces have been prosecuted and punished for acts amounting to torture as defined by the Convention,” the report said.
The UN report also raised serious concerns over frequent reports of torture committed by police and other authorities in Pakistan. It cited reports claiming that members of Pakistan’s military forces and intelligence forces have been implicated in several cases of extra-judicial executions involving torture and enforced disappearances.
India and Pakistan went face-to-face at International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday in the matter of death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court. Former Indian naval officer, Jadhav, was found guilty by the military court of being a spy for India, but India has denied the claims. India has also questioned the authenticity of the “confession” video uploaded by Pakistan as proof against Jadhav, saying it was made using methods of torture.