Rape as a Crime versus Rape as a Punishment: What is going on in India?

Written By Garima Tiwari

Indian village council orders sisters to be raped and paraded naked after their brother elopes with married woman.[i]

This recent news and few other similar incidents evoke a number of sentiments. Of course, it is an illegal order with no statutory backing, yet it is an order of the “members of the society” or as are called “Kangaroo Courts” . And it raises pertinent issues about the perception of women in India within a complex web of Caste, Culture, Religion and a family –community system still very patriarchal. While the Nirbhaya Delhi Gang rape case is still sore and the Government’s “security regime” -in place, headlines of “sentencing to rape”, create a mismatch in legal and societal standards. This post loosely  puts forth ideas on how the simple formula of merely punishing the offender does not even look like a step forward in acknowledging the deep seated problem in a complex society like India. Continue reading

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The Death Penalty in India – Necessary?

Author: Kirt Agarwal[1]

India retains capital punishment for a number of serious offences. In December 2007 India was among the minority of countries who voted at the United Nations General Assembly against a moratorium on executions. India retains the death penalty as punishment for a number of crimes including murder, kidnapping, terrorism, desertion, inducement to suicide of a minor or a mentally-diminished person and has more recently in 2013 come to include the offence of rape in certain circumstances. It is mandatory for second convictions for drug trafficking offences. Continue reading

Respecting Victims of Terrorism in Nigeria

Author: Tosin Osasona

If the Chinese proverb that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is right, then should pictures not be used more cautiously than words? When are nauseating images of gore and dead bodies’ offensive and when are they necessary? Has the mobile revolution moved death from the taboo closet that the African culture has kept it in for ages to the open? What is the effect of the repeated publication and circulation of graphic images on public consciousness? Is the dead entitled to the right to be treated with dignity? At what point do the dead stop being just mere news item and object of morbid fascination and become human? These and some other questions were thrown up by the images that surfaced after the Abuja bombing of April 14, 2014[i] and the recent school bombing in Potiskum, Nigeria.[ii] Continue reading

The Rule of Law and Human Rights in Iran

Author: Regina Paulose

“Study the past if you would define the future.”[1]

This year Iran submitted its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. In its report it detailed legal principles which are supposedly given to Iranians. Among the principles presented were the “prohibition of torture,” the “right to legal counsel,” and the “presumption of innocence.” The remainder of the report makes no mention of any necessity or potential reform of its legal system. Continue reading

Cyber Espionage Prosecution: U.S. v. Dong

Written by: Regina Paulose

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued[1] indictments against five Chinese military officers. The indictments[2] charge each defendant with up to 30 counts which include crimes of conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, accessing or attempting to access a protected computer without authorization, transmitting a code (etc.) with intent to cause damage to computers, aggravated identity theft, economic espionage, and trade secret theft. Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the five men. Continue reading

Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Syria

Written by: Regina Paulose

As various parties in and out of Syria prepare for the January 22, 2014 “Geneva II” talks, it is important for the international community to remember that a successful long term peace and transition plan in Syria will require the genuine participation of minority groups in Syria of all backgrounds. While these ideas have been communicated to the parties that will be in attendance, it is important that legitimate mechanisms are in place to ensure the participation of all in the transition and that the participation of all people remains a non-negotiable item during the talks. Continue reading

Private Prosecutions for Criminal Offences in England and Wales: Time for a Code?

By Claire de Than and Jesse Elvin, City University London

c.de-than@city.ac.uk and jesse.elvin.1@city.ac.uk

 

In the English legal system, most prosecutions for criminal offences are brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the prosecution service for England and Wales created in 1986 by section 1 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. However, this Act did not abolish the historical right to bring a private prosecution: on the contrary, section 6(1) of the 1985 Act expressly preserves it, subject to certain controls. Thus, private prosecutions still occur today.  Continue reading