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NCSW conveys its concern on statements by Council of Islamic Ideology on Admissibility of DNA as Primary Evidence in Rape Cases
Jun 19, 2013
DNA as Primary Evidence in Rape Cases.
The 48th meeting of National Commission on the Status of Women was held on June, 18-19, 2013 during which members discussed Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)’s observations on admissibility of DNA as primary evidence in rape cases. It was unanimously decided that CII may be apprised that DNA tests provide proven, solid, and scientifically accurate evidence for identification. DNA evidence is used all over the world in cases of rape and other crimes and lends support to the cases of the victims ensuring that they receive justice.
2. In this connection attention is also invited to various judgments (including the Federal Shariat Court) that have permitted the submission of DNA as primary evidence, such as Muhammad Shahid Sohail v. The State |(PLD 2010 FSC 215) and Amanullah v. The State, (PLD 2009 SC 542). Most recently, the Supreme Court judgment (2013 SCMR 203: Salman Raja and another – Petitioners), in case of thirteen-year-old Ayesha who attempted suicide after being gang-raped in the village of Ratta Amra, states that DNA tests should be made mandatory in rape cases (contingent on consent from the survivor/victim). The Court accepted that DNA tests are not un-Islamic as an admissible form of evidence in terms of the Qanun-e-Shahat Order 1984 as well as the Holy Quran and Sunnah. CII is well aware that adultery and rape cannot be equated and that the Women Protection Act 2006, excluded rape from the Zina Ordinances 1979 and made it an offense under the Pakistani Penal Code. These amendments to rape laws were made in consultation with CII.
3. NCSW is of the view that statements from CII may have negative effects and influence on the atmosphere surrounding rape and the societal mindset towards rape; it is also likely to influence and/or cause confusion in lower courts on the admissibility of DNA tests as evidence in court cases notwithstanding the existence of laws and precedents the use of DNA in court. Therefore, it is considered appropriate that CII may not re-open a matter already decided upon by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. A position like the one CII is contemplating would discourage victims from seeking justice. NCSW is seriously concerned that a recommendation that makes rape more difficult to prove could end up protecting the criminals by discouraging rape victims from speaking out and demanding the justice they deserve.