SAARC nations should create common court to tackle terrorism

Friday, Mar 11, 2016,11:24 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

United Nations | Citing the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, a Supreme Court Judge from India has suggested the creation of a common court for countries in the SAARC region that comprises judges from each nation who can share their knowledge and tackle cross-border terrorism cases.

The one incident which happened in India about terrorists crossing international border was 26/11 (Mumbai attack) and the terrorists entered Bombay and did what they had to and they were guided throughout by handlers from across the border who were guiding their action throughout, Justice Sharad Bobde said. This was the advantage terrorists had and this was the disadvantage the Indian people had.

They did not know what the plan was, where they would go next. This incident underscored the point for which this conference is convened and that is that judges must talk to each other, he said participating in the open briefing here yesterday of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee on ‘Upholding Justice : The effective adjudication of terrorism cases’. Bobde was responding to a question on how courts can come together to foster regional and international cooperation and how the judiciary can help in the efforts to tackle terrorism.

The UN event for the first time brought together Supreme Court justices from across the world to discuss how terrorism cases are handled in their respective countries. Outlining the ways the judiciary can help in addressing the scourge of cross-border terrorism, Bobde referred to the SAARC countries and floated the idea of having a common court for the South Asian bloc that would have judges from each country in the region who could share expertise and knowledge in tackling cross-border terrorism cases.

The entire discussion on sharing of knowledge and helping judges in other countries assumes that there are different courts in different countries separated from each other. Talking mainly of the SAARC countries could we consider having a common court for these countries which comprises of judges from all (SAARC) countries who will share the matter and decide. This will eliminate the entire problem of sharing of knowledge and other cross border (concerns), he said at the event organised by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).

Bobde noted that mere sharing of knowledge once the matter is over would not be very effective in dealing with terrorism. He pointed out that India is tackling all kinds of terrorism, including political terrorism, narco-terrorism, separatist movements in the Northeast as well as cross-border terrorism on allegedly religious lines which I don’t believe is really religious. There are different problems and with different countries. If we could have judges from these countries on a common court, it would help a great deal. The modalities could be worked out but I would seriously recommend that this be considered by the committee, he said.