Jammu Kashmir - Amnesty International

NEW DELHI — Responding to the reports of Army authorities inquiring into the alleged extrajudicial execution of three labourers by its troops last month in Shopian, Amnesty International India on Wednesday demanded a transparent investigation by independent civilian authorities into the killings.

“Amnesty International India calls for the extrajudicial execution to be investigated and prosecuted by independent civilian authorities. Civilian investigations and trials offer a degree of transparency and independence that is missing from the military justice system,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India.

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The AI said UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a State party has stated that in cases of human rights violations by security forces, investigations should be carried out by civilian authorities in order to ensure independence.

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“This has also been affirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. The Supreme Court of India has also criticised the military justice system and recommended reforms on a number of occasions. Military law experts in India have acknowledged inherent defects within the Indian military justice system, particularly its lack of independence,” the AI statement said.

The AI said it has previously documented the propensity of Army authorities to almost categorically dismiss allegations of human rights violations against their personnel.

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“In its latest situation update and analysis from Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International India has documented the closure of the State Human Rights Commission along with six other commissions, including the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights, which has left the people of Jammu & Kashmir with absolutely no redressal for their human rights violations. This is a violation of their right to remedy as guaranteed by the ICCPR,” said the statement.

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