A strong criminal justice system is needed to protect women and ensure justice for them, suggested Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain yesterday.
“By creating a strong criminal justice system -- in which the perpetrators of violence against women would be adequately punished and the victims sufficiently protected -- the state and the community would be able to better protect women and ensure justice for them,” he said.
The chief justice said this while speaking as chief guest at a dialogue on “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”, organised by Bangladesh Women Judges Association (BWJA) and UNDP at a city hotel.
He said violence against women is a violation of women’s rights, security and integrity.
“Violence against women, in its varying forms such as physical torture, assault, sexual exploitation and so on are factors that keep them entrapped in exploitative situations,” he said.
Justice Hossain said rape is the most heinous crime. “It not only violates a woman’s body but also injures her very soul. Rape is an incurable wound, and failure to punish a rapist adds further pain to that wound,” he said.
He said in rape cases, it is difficult to have an ocular witness, therefore, judges may convict the accused only on the basis of the prosecutrix evidence, if it is found complete, reliable and trustworthy.
Prosecutrix is a female victim of a crime on whose behalf the state prosecutes a suspect.
“Acquittal of rapists despite victims’ unimpeachable and reliable testimony is not only a great injustice to the victim but also harmful for the society,” the chief justice added.
Justice Zinat Ara, judge of the Appellate Division of Supreme Court; Justice M Enayetur Rahim, judge of the SC’s High Court Division; Tanjina Ismail, president of BWJA; and Sharmeela Rassool, chief technical adviser at Justice and Human Rights Programme of UNDP, among others, spoke on the occasion.