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Courts compensate victims in 6.8pc rape cases: Study

FE REPORT | March 08, 2021 00:00:00

Different lower courts awarded compensation to victims in only 6.8 per cent rape cases under the Nari O Shishu Nirjaton Domon Ain-2000, according to a latest study.

The study, conducted by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), showed that under the 2000 Act, courts imposed fine on convicted rapists in 100 per cent of the cases, but they (the courts) converted fine into compensation and awarded it to the victims/survivors in only 6.8 per cent of these cases (three out of 44 cases).

The Supreme Court acquitted convicts in two out of three of these cases where compensation was awarded by the Nari O Shishu Nirjaton Domon Tribunal, therefore the award of compensation sustained in only one case, found the study.

In solidarity with the campaign theme #Choose To Challenge for International Women's Day 2021, BLAST disseminated the study titled 'No justice without reparation: Why rape survivors must have a right to compensation' recently.

The study also recommended amending Section 15 of the 2000 Act so compensation is a matter of right not a matter of judicial discretion.

It also suggested enacting the crime victims' compensation law drafted by the Law Commission in 2007 so that a Crime Victim Compensation Fund is established in every district, from which victims of violent crime may apply for compensation as of right, independently of any criminal proceedings.

The average amount of fine imposed by the Tribunal under the 2000 Act is around Tk 28,000, compared to around Tk 4,700 under the 1995 Act - therefore marking an increase, but remaining inadequate for the purposes of compensation nevertheless, the study found.

The report was published as part of the Rape Law Reform Now campaign, supported by the UN Women Combating Gender Based Violence Project funded by Global Affairs Canada, and was authored by Taqbir Huda, research specialist, BLAST.

The study also revealed that the minimum amount of fine was set at Tk100,000 for rape leading to murder and gang-rape by Sections 9(2) and 9(3) of the 2000 Act.

However, the court did not impose fine above this minimum limit in any of the 44 cases under the 2000 Act, indicating that Tk 100,000 is treated as a ceiling rather than a baseline in practice, the study found.

The objective of this report is to restore the balance in the discourse on justice for rape, so the urgent necessity of granting monetary remedies to the rape survivor becomes clear.

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