Pakistan's Cabinet has approved two anti-rape ordinances which called for the chemical castration of rapists with the consent of the convict and setting up of special courts for rape trials, according to a media report on Friday.
A meeting of the Cabinet committee on legislative cases chaired by federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem on Thursday approved the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
The ordinances have already been approved in-principle by the federal Cabinet on Tuesday, the Dawn News reported. The concept of chemical castration for first or repeated offenders has been introduced mainly as a form of rehabilitation, and subject to consent of the convict, it said.
According to law minister Naseem, it is mandatory under the international law to take consent of the convict before castrating him. In case, chemical castration is ordered without taking consent, the convict might challenge this before a court of law, he said.
If a convict would not agree to castration, he would be dealt with in accordance with the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) under which the court might award him death sentence, life imprisonment or 25-year jail term, the minister said. However, he said, it is up to the court to decide the punishment. The judge may order chemical castration or the punishment under the PPC.
The court might order castration for a limited period or lifetime, Naseem said. The ordinances also provide for setting up of special courts to conduct trial in rape cases. Special prosecutors for the special courts will also be appointed. As per the proposed legislations, anti-rape crisis cells headed by a commissioner or deputy commissioner will be set up to ensure prompt registration of an FIR, medical examination and forensic analysis.
It also bar the cross-examination of a rape survivor by the accused. Only judge and the accused's lawyers will be able to cross-examine the survivor. The proposed laws include in-camera trials, witness protection for the victim and witnesses, use of modern devices during investigation and trial, legal assistance to the victims and appointment of independent support advisers for the victims.
It prohibit the controversial two-finger test performed on rape survivors. The World Health Organisation has already declared the test as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable. Human Rights groups have also termed the test as invasive, disrespectful and a gross violation of a woman's right to dignity and privacy.