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Right to Fair Trial: A Journey through Criminal Justice System in Pakistan Launched.

Pakistan ratified International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in June 2010. By ratifying these international instruments, Pakistan has undertaken the obligation to bring about legislative, judicial and administrative measures necessitated by these treaties.

According to article 2 of the Convention against Torture, each State party has an obligation to take all necessary measures to prevent acts of torture. The Convention against Torture requires States parties to address torture as a specific offence in their respective criminal codes.

Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD) has been systematically working on the issue of torture for last three years with the support of Foundation Open Society Institute Pakistan. The Commission conducted an evidence-based study to identify the hurdles and obstacles in the way of fair dispensation of justice in the criminal justice system. The study was conducted in three districts of Punjab Mulatn, Rahim Yar Khan and Faisalabad with 3000 interviews with three clients of Criminal Justice System i.e. complainant, accused and witness.

This study, entitled “Right to Fair Trial: A Journey through the Criminal Justice System in Pakistan”, evinces a staggeringly high proportion of the accused who have reported to suffer one form of torture or another. The findings reflect a serious indictment of the state of due process of law in Pakistan and the fairness of its criminal justice system.

It is in this perspective that the DCHD has launched a nationwide campaign against inhuman and degrading treatment and torture in Pakistan leading to eradicate culture of impunity, strengthen accountability process and better state compliance towards Convention Against Torture through public awareness and media campaign.

The study was launched on 27th August at Hospitality Inn in a Consultation Meeting organized to seek advice from all stakeholders for mass awareness and media strategy.