Custodial Death: Is It Adequately Investigated?

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Custodial Death: Is It Adequately Investigated?

Kematian Tahanan Dalam Penjara: Adakah Siasatan Terhadapnya Memadai?

Ma Kalthum Ishak
En Noorfajri Bin Ismail
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract

Custodial death means a death in custody of a police or other authorities. This issue had always become a favorite issue to be discussed as it involved the interest of the public; especially the bereaved family members. Although under the Criminal Procedure Code, inquest into deaths in custody is mandatory, in reality, very few inquests are conducted. The concern arises as to how the police carry out the investigation as it involved their own people. Lack of information from the police involved and delaying the investigation may led to injustice. A system in which police investigate police related death undermines public confidence, is fundamentally flawed and a breach of human right obligations. Jurisdictions such as Northern Ireland, England and Wales, Ontario and New Zealand have moved to establish a system under which police related deaths are independently investigated. Thus, an independent body must be formed to investigate the cases thoroughly and diligently so as to make sure that justice can be hold. The formation of this body can assure the transparency and accountability of the investigation and put the public at rest despite of wondering whether the investigation is conducted fairly.

Keywords: custodial death, investigation, independent body

Abstrak

Kematian dalam tahanan bermaksud kematian dalam jagaan polis atau pihak berkuasa lain.Isu ini telah sentiasa menjadi satu isu yang kegemaran untuk dibincangkan kerana ia melibatkan kepentingan awam, terutamanya ahli keluarga berkabung. Walaupun Kanun Tatacara Jenayah menetapkan bahawa inkues kematian dalam tahanan adalah wajib, namun realiitnya, sangat sedikit inkues dijalankan. Kebimbangan timbul terhadap bagaimana polis menjalankan siasatan kerana ia melibatkan pihak polis sendiri. Kurangnya maklumat daripada pihak polis yang terlibat dan melambatkan siasatan boleh membawa kepada ketidakadilan. Satu sistem di mana polis menyiasat kematian yang melibatkan polis melemahkan keyakinan orang ramai dan melanggar kewajipan hak asasi manusia. Negara-negara luar seperti Northern Ireland, England dan Wales, Ontario dan New Zealand telah mewujudkan satu sistem di mana kes-kes seperti ini perlulah di siasat oleh satu badan persendirian. Oleh itu, sebuah badan bebas harus ditubuhkan untuk menyiasat kes dengan teliti dan bersungguh-sungguh untuk memastikan bahawa keadilan boleh di tegakkan. Pembentukan badan ini boleh menjamin ketelusan dan akauntabiliti penyiasatan dan dapat member jaminan kepada orang awam bahawa siasatan telah dilakukan dengan saksama.

Kata Kunci: kematian dalam tahanan, siasatan, badan persendirian

INTRODUCTION

This paper examines on the adequacy of investigation involving custodial death. The rationale of this paper is to address ongoing concerns about conflict of interest that come with police investigating their own officers. This paper clearly demonstrates that a new, independent system is necessary. A state is obliged to protect the human rights of its citizen. When a state deprives citizens of their liberty it has heightened obligation to protect their human rights. The right to life is the most fundamental of human rights. A state is therefore under a duty to protect the lives of prisoners in its custody. It has been established that there is an obligation on the state to conduct an effective investigation into the death of a prisoner which dies while in the custody of the State.

The coroner’s duty is to hold an inquest if he has reasonable cause to suspect that the body within his district is that of a person who dies ‘in prison’. As ‘prison’ is not defined, it is not clear whether it should bear the same narrow meaning as it does in the prison legislation, or more general interpretation as ‘a place where a person...
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