Pakistan: ICJ condemns attack on the Peshawar Courthouse

The ICJ strongly condemns today’s suicide attack on the Peshawar court complex in Pakistan.

“An independent judiciary, free from violence, threats of violence or intimidation is a basic precondition to a functioning democracy under the rule of law,” said Alex Conte, Director of ICJ’s International Law and Protection Programmes.

“The suicide attack drives home the failure of the Pakistani government to fulfill its obligation to protect the right to personal security of the millions of people living in northwest Pakistan who have to face the daily threat of suicide bombings or unlawful killings,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia & Pacific Regional Director.

Under the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of Judges, the State must take steps to protect the judiciary from threats, violence or any other interference from any quarter for any reason.

Under international law, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Pakistan must take active steps to ensure the safety of all persons within its territories.

Under the Beijing Statement of Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary in the LAWASIA Region, the executive authorities must at all times ensure the security and physical protection of judges and their families.

“Insurgent groups in northwest Pakistan have a long record of human rights abuses, including the use of suicide bombers to commit unlawful killings,” Zarifi added. “If this bombing was perpetrated by militants as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, it constitutes a crime against humanity and must be treated as such.”

Earlier today, two suicide bombers detonated heavy explosives inside a Peshawar courthouse killing four people and injuring thirty others, including lawyers, police officers and civilians.

One of the bombers detonated the explosives in the courtroom of Judge Kulsoom Nawaz.

The Peshawar courthouse complex was attacked in November 2009, killing 19 people.


Laurens Hueting, ICJ Associate Legal Adviser, Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (Geneva), t: +41 229793848, email: laurens.hueting(a)

Sam Zarifi, ICJ Asia-Pacific Regional Director, (Bangkok); t:+66 807819002; email: sam.zarifi(a)

Sheila Varadan, ICJ Legal Advisor, South Asia Programme (Bangkok), t: +66 857200723; email: sheila.varadan(a)

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