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EXTRAJUDICIAL VERSUS JUDICIAL JUSTICE

International System of Justice abhors Death Sentence, Police excels in giving the same.

Dr.-Javed-Jamil1Dr. Javed Jamil

The country is witnessing rage over brutal killings of a father and son in Tamil Nadu. This is not an isolated case. I have shown in my just published book, “Justice Imprisoned” how the law enforcing machineries all over the world are engaged in custodial killings and torture of the suspected criminals. The book shows, with the support of huge statistics, that the international system of justice is extremely advanced in method but a colossal failure in results. Huge machineries are in place for the application and implementation of law. Millions of counsellors, millions of police personnel, tens of thousands of judges are working day and night to “establish” the system of “justice”.  In the process, law and all its tributaries have become big industries. In addition, huge governmental expenditure is involved in the system. The orchestra is being continuously played but the tunes it is producing are hardly what the musician wants the listeners to believe. The musician however is happy. The crimes have become the order of the day, and with the rise in the crimes, the fortunes of the organisers of the orchestra continue to grow. Despite trillions of dollars involved in the system of law and order, despite tens of millions performing the law enforcing duties, despite the tens of millions of counsellors that vouch to defend justice, despite millions of judges that preside over tens of thousands of courts, despite tens of thousands of prisons that are housing tens of millions of the alleged and convicted criminals, lawlessness and crimes are zooming horrendously with every passing day with billions of men and women being subjected to numerous kinds of serious crimes including murderous and sexual assaults every year. How can then we call it even a satisfactory, what to speak of an excellent system of law and justice? “Justice Imprisoned” unfolds the horrible account of how justice, rather than being chosen to lord over the human society, has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the so-called Civilized World.

EXTRAJUDICIAL VERSUS JUDICIAL

Here are few excerpts from the book from the chapter, “extrajudicial versus judicial justice, which specifically focuses on the killings and tortures in police custody:

The net result of the campaign by the economic fundamentalists against capital punishment and the system of justice developed in accordance with their wishes is that now more people are “punished” by the police than by the courts. The capital or corporal punishment has officially ended as per the constitutions. But it is now given by the police, based on their own assumptions and biases, and not by the courts, based on the evidences. There are more deaths in police custody and encounters than through death sentences executed at the orders of the courts.

The net result of the campaign by the economic fundamentalists against capital punishment and the system of justice developed in accordance with their wishes is that now more people are “punished” by the police than by the courts. The capital or corporal punishment has officially ended as per the constitutions. But it is now given by the police, based on their own assumptions and biases, and not by the courts, based on the evidences. There are more deaths in police custody and encounters than through death sentences executed at the orders of the courts.

As per Amnesty International, around 1600 prisoners were executed in 2017:

Country                      Total  executed (2018)1
China                                       1,000+
Iran                                          253+
Saudi Arabia                            149
Vietnam                                   85+
Iraq                                          52+
Egypt                                       43+
United States                            25
Japan                                       15
Pakistan                                   14+
Singapore                                 13
Somalia                                    13
South Sudan                            7+
Belarus                                     4+
Yemen                                     4+
Afghanistan                             3
Botswana                                 2
Sudan                                      2
Taiwan                                     1
Thailand                                  1
North Korea                             Unknown                    

It is evident that a total number of about 1600 persons were executed all over the world including about 1000 in China, about 300 in Iran and less than 200 in Saudi Arabia, the three main countries where death sentences are routinely awarded for serious crimes including murder, drug trafficking and sedition. In contrast, the numbers of the people killed in police custody are very high. Despite all the efforts, I could not find a combined worldwide data regarding the deaths in police custody but I could find the data of some countries. These data are enough to show the numbers.

Here are findings from a report about United States by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics2:

·         More than 2,000 criminal suspects died in police custody over a three-year period;

·         Half of them were killed by officers as they scuffled or attempted to flee;

·         The review found 55 percent of the 2,002 arrest-related deaths from 2003 through 2005 were due to homicide by state and local law enforcement officers.

·          Alcohol and drug intoxication caused 13 percent of the deaths, followed by suicides at 12 percent, accidental injury at 7 percent and illness or natural causes at 6 percent. The causes for the deaths of the remaining 7 percent were unknown.

·         The highly populated states of California, Texas and Florida led the pack for both police killings and overall arrest-related deaths. Georgia, Maryland and Montana were not included in the study because they did not submit data.

·         77 percent of those who died in custody were men between the ages of 18 and 44.

·         Approximately 44 percent were white; 32 percent black; and 20 percent Hispanic.

·         New York now ranks sixth nationwide in the number of police killings, behind Arizona and Illinois, according to Thursday’s report.

Another report compiled by The Guardian for a project called “The Counted,” 3 published in 2016 gave the following information:

·         So far in 2015, U.S. police killed 776 people, 161 of whom were completely unarmed at the time of their death.

·         Based on their figures, police have killed, on average, about three people per day so far this year.

·         Police killed more white people than any other race this year. A total 385 white people have been killed by police this year, and 66 of them were unarmed at the time of their death.

·         However, activists like the members of the Black Lives Matter movement argue that police kill blacks at a rate disproportionate to their total percentage of the population. Police killed almost five black people per every million black residents of the U.S., compared with about 2 per million for both white and Hispanic victims.

·         The vast majority of those killed — 745 — were men.

·         Shooting was the most common cause of police-related death, at 680. Of the 161 unarmed individuals, 71 were shot by police. The second most common cause of death found in the study were Tasers, which led to the deaths of 39 people, followed by being struck by police vehicles (26).

This means that while around 30 executions take place in the united States every year, extra legal killings by law authorities are near 1000, a ration of around 1: 35. 

In England, the number of deaths in police custody between 1990 and 2015 has been more than 1500, which means around 100 deaths every year. In contrast, no executions have taken place.

The fact that the ban on capital and corporal punishment has only led to the sharp burgeoning of all the crimes and the extrajudicial “death sentences” and “corporal punishments” is clear from the reports from almost all those countries where the modern judicial system is in force.

The fact that the ban on capital and corporal punishment has only led to the sharp burgeoning of all the crimes and the extrajudicial “death sentences” and “corporal punishments” is clear from the reports from almost all those countries where the modern judicial system is in force.

There are additional problems with the extrajudicial “sentences”. A French report tells about the frustration of the families of the persons killed in police custody and also about the racial influences in these killings:

“When the police kills, the families proclaim, the judiciary, the state, and the media are all complicit. The demonstrators denounce the unfairness of the decisions and the racism of French institutions. And yet, politicians routinely dismiss these accusations and, instead, always give the police the benefit of the doubt by highlighting the difficulty of police work. The police unions are constantly defending the police officers in question, contesting homicide charges and claims of racism within their ranks.

“When the police kills, the families proclaim, the judiciary, the state, and the media are all complicit. The demonstrators denounce the unfairness of the decisions and the racism of French institutions. And yet, politicians routinely dismiss these accusations and, instead, always give the police the benefit of the doubt by highlighting the difficulty of police work.

In Russia, the custody deaths are normally in hundreds, according to website calling itself “Russian Ebola”7.

Another report says:

“Each month, the official figures showed that between nine and 29 people died at police stations across the country, with very few cases ever investigated further.

“If every day the news brings sudden death at a police station, then we’re really talking about some strange epidemic that needs to have clearly identified reasons, needs to be localised and combated effectively,” Kashin wrote.

“I’m afraid of this epidemic and I want everyone to be afraid, because it is terrifying, and it must be exposed..

India has not fared any better. According to a report published in Times of India, more than 12000 people died in police custody in last 5 years. The report says:

“The Supreme Court has viewed seriously ineffective implementation of series of directions to curb custodial deaths and sought explanation from the Centre and states after being informed that nearly 12,000 persons died — either in jail or in police stations — in last five years.

“A bench of Justices S S Nijjar and F M I Kalifulla was pained when amicus curiae A M Singhvi moved an application seeking implementation of 15 more guidelines to clamp down on custodial excesses, which has resulted in the death of 11,820 and 3,532 reported cases of custodial torture between 2007 and 2012.


A bench of Justices S S Nijjar and F M I Kalifulla was pained when amicus curiae A M Singhvi moved an application seeking implementation of 15 more guidelines to clamp down on custodial excesses, which has resulted in the death of 11,820 and 3,532 reported cases of custodial torture between 2007 and 2012.

“Singhvi stated that “the National Human Rights Commission registered 39 cases of rape in judicial and police custody from 2006 to 2010”. Flagrant violation of statutory restraint and scant fear of punishment was exhibited in open when Punjab policemen assaulted a woman, picked her brother and father and beaten up, he said, adding that the apex court has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident.

“The low figure of custodial torture was explained by Singhvi. He said, “Unlike custodial deaths, the police are not mandatorily required to report cases of torture which do not result in deaths to NHRC. Hence number of reported cases of police torture is a fraction of the actual incidents.”

“He said Maharashtra reported maximum number of custodial deaths in the country. “Number of custodial deaths in Maharashtra in 2007, 2008 and 2009 are 21, 25 and 23, respectively. The state government in its reply has put the figures for the three years at 20, 29 and 23 (a total of 72). It is noteworthy that many of the custodial deaths admitted to by Maharashtra are women.”

“He said though the total number of cases admitted by the state was 72, criminal action against perpetrators of custodial death had been initiated only in four cases and the state did not inform about the outcome of such criminal action initiated against the accused policemen.

“He said the NHRC in 2011-12 registered 94,985 cases of human rights violations across the country……”Nearly a half, 46,187, were registered from Uttar Pradesh followed by Delhi (7,988) and Haryana 6,921). Even though NHRC is located in Delhi, it is necessary that Delhi should have its own state human rights commission (SHRC),” Singhvi said.”9

It can easily be estimated that the annual global number of deaths in police custody is in tens of thousands. It is not only the deaths but severe torture is also common in police custody and prisons. While the Law is abhorrent of giving physical punishments, the law enforcing agencies derive sadistic pleasure in torturing people.

 ————————————

Dr Javed Jamil is a thinker and writer including, “Economics First or Health First?”, “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He is currently Chair in ISAR, Yenepoya (Deemed to be) University, Mangalore, Karnataka (India). He can be contacted at doctorforu123@yahoo.com

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