World Day for International Justice also known as International Criminal Justice Day or International Justice Day is observed on 17 July every year. This day commemorates the adoption of the Rome statute 1998 followed by the establishment of the International Court of Justice. Since 1998, over 150 countries have signed the court’s treaty and over 123 states have ratified it. The Review Conference of the Rome Statute was held at the city of Kampala, Uganda on June 1, 2010, and during this conference, countries involved in decided to celebrate International Criminal Justice Day on July 17.
The day aims to unite and celebrate all those who strive, support and stand by the deliverance of justice, to promote victim’s rights, to prevent serious crimes and criminals who put the peace, security, and well-being of the world at risk, to recognize and support the efforts of ICC. ICC is the first permanent and independent international judicial institution that is authorized to try individuals accused of the gravest violations of international humanitarian and human rights which include the crime of genocide, a war of crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The day also aims to draw people’s attention towards several grave issues such as violence against women, genocides, racial discrimination, etc. and raise awareness amongst them to support justice and make the world a better and more peaceful place to live in.
As we talk about justice, the fact can’t be ignored that there lies a heavy backlog of cases and delays in the Indian Judicial System which makes one ponder over the age-old saying that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’
The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, applicable to civil courts, states that judgements should be delivered within 30 days of arguments being closed whereas no such time restriction is listed for the judgements to be passed in view of a criminal case in Section 353 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974.
Also, no such time restrictions exist in cases of judgements by the High Court or Supreme Court. Notoriously, prolonged cases of Ram Mandir and Nirbhaya rape case are hidden from the view of none. According to the 2019 report by Economic Times, Out of 43 lakh cases pending in 25 High Courts, 8 lakh cases are a decade old.
Recently, a gang rape survivor was sent to jail in Patna along with the accused, which should not only put the authorities but all of us to shame as well.
Ali Muhammad Bhat was among 6 accused of Rajasthan bomb blasts who were sentenced to life imprisonment. Wrongfully accused, Bhat returned home after 23 years when he was found to be ‘not guilty’ and acquitted on July 23, 2019. He was 24 when he was arrested and 47 when released. Both of his parents died during the course of his trial. What meaning of justice can be implemented here?
A time limit for delivering the judgement is required not just to avoid delay, but also to prevent tampering of justice and judgement. There lies a long way to implement the form of justice required to catch hold of the crime rates and to make civil society a cent percent reality.
Also, the form of instant closure that the trigger happy police employs through encounter killings is unconstitutional, against human rights and unjustifiable. As the article 21 of the Indian Constitution states, “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” This means that the state is required to put the accused on trial in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). In the trial, the accused must be informed of the charges against him and then given an opportunity to defend himself and only then, if found guilty, can he be convicted and executed.
Looking forward to witnessing a more law-abiding and justice-preaching society.