Army court convictions allow for judicial review: Tarar

Minister says no case of women referred to military court till now

Our Correspondent June 14, 2023
Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar says no woman's case has been sent to military courts so far. SCREENGRAB


Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on Wednesday said that accused being proceeded against under army laws would get “fair” trial as military courts meet the “internationally acknowledged minimum requirements”.

The minister expressed the views while speaking to the media after a meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council. The government has been facing criticism over its decision to try the suspects accused of attacking military installations on May 9 under army laws.

Tarar also said that the accused would have the right to appeal his/her conviction in higher courts and added that he/she will have the right to choose their own lawyer and provide evidence in their defence.

He cited Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights-1966 regarding fair trial which, he said, gave the right to appoint a counsel of choice, produce defence evidence, have access to the relevant record and seek a judicial review.

The army laws “covered all these [aspects] and that is why it is said that they meet the internationally acknowledged minimum requirements pertaining to the procedure and law”, he added.

Read SCBA opposes ‘unconstitutional’ military court trials

The law minister stressed the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch to ensure four things in the trial of civilians under the Army Act. They are judicial review against military court decisions; right of an accused to engage counsel of own choice; follow the procedure of CPC and CrPC; and access to case record.”

The JAG branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces is composed of the military’s senior officers, lawyers and judges who provide legal services to the army, air force, navy, and marines at all levels of command. The branch falls under the law directorate of the army.

When asked whether any “special considerations” were being mulled regarding the trial of women under army laws, the minister replied: “Matters [pertaining to military trials] will be decided according to the operation of the law. It is not the choice of the federal government or any institution.

“The relevant institution will proceed on this in line with how they are satisfied with the [available] material.”

However, he continued, no case of woman had been referred to the military court till now.


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