EN­COUNTER EPI­DEMIC

The process of in­ves­ti­ga­tion into crime and pros­e­cu­tion of crim­i­nals needs to be pro­tected from in­ter­fer­ence by politi­cians,

FrontLine - - ESSAY -

Mat­ters will get worse un­less this prac­tice is checked; of this, there is no sign. Bol­ly­wood has ex­tolled “en­coun­ters” and “en­counter spe­cial­ists” in a good few block­busters with­out a word of crit­i­cism from any quar­ter. It re­flects In­dian so­ci­ety’s in­dif­fer­ence, if not ap­proval. It all be­gan in Pun­jab in the reign of Par­tap Singh Ka­iron. One of the vol­umes of Se­lected Works of Jawa­har­lal Nehru has his Note on en­coun­ters. I owe to my friend Ravi Nair of the South Asia Hu­man Rights Doc­u­men­ta­tion Cen­tre in New Delhi a huge debt for help­ing me with doc­u­ments on the sub­jects. His re­search is world class.

MIN­NESOTA PRO­TO­COL

In 2017, Zaid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein, United Na­tions Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights, pub­lished, un­der his fore­word, an up­dated ver­sion of the orig­i­nal U.N. Man­ual on the Ef­fec­tive Pre­ven­tion of Ex­trale­gal, Ar­bi­trary and Sum­mary Ex­e­cu­tions of 1991, which through wide­spread us­age be­came known as the Min­nesota Pro­to­col. Like the orig­i­nal, this up­dated ver­sion sup­ple­ments the U.N. Prin­ci­ples on the Ef­fec­tive Pre­ven­tion and In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Ex­trale­gal, Ar­bi­trary and Sum­mary Ex­e­cu­tions (1989), which re­mains an im­por­tant part of the in­ter­na­tional le­gal stan­dards for the pre­ven­tion of un­law­ful deaths and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of po­ten­tially un­law­ful deaths. The orig­i­nal Min­nesota Pro­to­col was drafted through an ex­pert process led by the Min­nesota Lawyers In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee, mo­ti­vated by an aware­ness among civil so­ci­ety ac­tors that there was no clear in­ter­na­tional ref­er­ence point at the time to act as ei­ther a prac­ti­cal guide for those tasked with con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into sus­pi­cious deaths, or as a norm against which to eval­u­ate such in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

In 2012, civil so­ci­ety groups sub­mit­ted more than 1,500 cases of al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in Ma­nipur to the Supreme Court of In­dia.

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