Enforcement of the right to have a fair trial conducted by an impartial and independent court or tribunal constituted under law is essential to ensure access to justice. To this end, BLAST works to identify and stop situations in which extra-judicial penalties, including at their most extreme, extra-judicial executions, are inflicted on people in Bangladesh. BLAST has challenged the actions of RAB in the alleged extra-judicial execution of suspected criminals. In November 2009, BLAST intervened in a Suo Motu Rule issued by the High Court in respect of reports of the alleged extra-judicial execution of two persons by RAB officers in ‘cross-fire’.
BLAST, along with other human rights organizations, filed a writ petition in the High Court challenging state inaction in investigation or prosecution of the imposition and execution of extra-judicial penalties in the name of “fatwas” inflicted at a local level by non-judicial bodies. Local government officials have reportedly participated in or passively approved these extra-judicial punishments, which have led to injuries and the death of women in Bangladesh. On 9.7.2010, the High Court declared the infliction of all kinds of extra-judicial punishment, including extra-judicial punishment by local salish in the name of fatwa, to be illegal and without any lawful authority. The Court held that any person involved, present, participating or assisting in any such conviction or execution would come under purview of the offences under Penal Code and be subject to punishment.
Under the Children Act, 1974, children are supposed to be tried in juvenile courts, and BLAST has obtained judgments in the High Court to ensure the rights of children to a fair trial in juvenile court. In 22 BLD (2002) 206, the High Court affirmed the responsibility of the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that children are tried under the Children Act, 1974 rather than the Code of Criminal Procedure. In 57 DLR (2005) 11, the High Court directed the government to try juveniles expeditiously before the juvenile courts.
Public Interest Litigation
- Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Children Act, 1974 Case]
Writ Petition No. 1341 of 2000
22 BLD (2002) 206
- Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust vs. Bangladesh and others [Under-Trial Prisoners Case]
Writ Petition No. 7578 of 2003
57 DLR (2005) 11
- BLAST, ASK and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Extra-Judicial Penalties Case]
Writ Petition No. 5863 of 2009
- ASK, BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Extra-Judicial Killing Case]
Writ Petition No. 4152 of 2009
- State vs. Major Kazi Waheduzzaman and others [Suo Motu Rule on Extra-Judicial Killings]
Criminal Miscellaneous Case No 24727 of 2009