Justice denied | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:48 AM, March 09, 2018

Editorial

Justice denied

No conviction in 97 percent cases of violence against women and children

According to a report by Prothom Alo, 97 percent of these cases filed in five tribunals in Dhaka district, over the last 15 years, ended up with no conviction. Some cases described in the report are disturbing and constitute absolute examples of why justice delayed is justice denied.

The outright negligence on the part of the investigating officer, public prosecutor and the police has been identified as one of the main reasons for the lack of conviction in these serious cases ending up in the acquittal of the accused. According to plaintiffs' complaints, bribery plays a role in the investigating officer filing the final report without recommending punishment for anyone. Prolonged investigations and social stigma also discourage the victims and their families to pursue these cases.

Most victims of these crimes are from underprivileged backgrounds while the perpetrators often wield power and influence. Therefore, victims' families are often intimidated and coerced into agreeing to a settlement out of court, which is illegal in such cases, by powerful perpetrators.

It is quite a shame for us as a nation that due to the serious systematic shortcomings and flaws in our judicial and legal proceedings, we cannot ensure justice for most victims of VAWC—not even if the victim is murdered. Our system is rigged against the victims. Those who are supposed to work on behalf of the victims are not doing their job. Unless there is a systemic change and more efforts are given to vigorously pursue these cases, some of the most heinous criminals will continue to go unpunished and justice will continue to be denied to victims.

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