Tuesday, July 12, 2011

YM Raja Aziz Addruse, human rights advocate, passed away on 12/7/2011 -

In Memoriam: Yang Mulia Raja Aziz Addruse
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 02:58pm

Our distinguished Past President, Yang Mulia Raja Aziz Addruse, passed away peacefully earlier today at the age of 75.

Allahyarham was called to the Malaysian Bar on 8 Jan 1966.  From Lincoln’s Inn, Allahyarham was the first President of the Malaysian Bar to serve three terms — 1976-1978, 1988-1989 and 1992-1993.  A leading advocate, Allahyarham continued to be active in Bar Council work, and appeared regularly in the Appellate Courts as a senior counsel.  He had led and argued many of the difficult and controversial cases for the Malaysian Bar.

Those wishing to pay respects can do so at his residence at No 29 Jalan Nusa, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.  The funeral will be at noon tomorrow.

Bar Council and the Malaysian Bar convey our deepest condolences and sincere sympathies to his family members on their loss. - Malaysian Bar Website 

He was a human rights advocate, whom I had the pleasure of knowing and working with. Amongst others, he campaigned for an end of 'shoot to kill' practices of the Malaysian police, against Detention Without Trial (he was instrumental in helping re-focusing attention from just the ISA to all Detention Without Trial laws), was for the abolition of the death penalty, 

Senior lawyer and former Bar Council president Raja Aziz Addruse says that proper justification must be given for the taking of a life. “Just to say, ‘Because they were shooting at me,’ is insufficient,” he says. “In many of these cases, there’s always a gun found in the car. It’s just too coincidental. Very often, all the people allegedly involved are killed.”...

Raja Aziz also cites the need for an independent tribunal to look into police shootings. “In other countries, an independent inquiry would be held to find out what happened,” he says. “For example, in the UK, an inquiry was held in the case of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.” The inquiry eventually found the Met police force guilty of endangering public safety, and it was penalised for shooting de Menezes dead.

Raja Aziz says the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) is inadequate to monitor the police, as its jurisdiction is too general. “With the rampant abuses that have been perpetuated by the police, there should be a proper, separate commission,” he says. “Also, police officers have much greater powers than those in other agencies such as the MACC, immigration or customs.”...Raja Aziz says unless the government has the political will to deal with these issues regarding the police, nothing will change. - The Nut Graph, 22/3/2010, Are the police shooting to kill?
Amend mandatory death sentence, urges Raja Aziz
Former Bar Council chairman Raja Aziz Addruse has urged the Government to amend mandatory death penalty laws to give judges the option whether or not to pass the death sentence.
Speaking at an Amnesty International workshop on The Death Penalty, he  said that at present, the imposition of the death penalty was not a choice for the presiding judge in cases involving murder and drug trafficking.
He said the mandatory death sentences under the penal code for murder and drug offences meant that anyone found guilty would automatically join death row.
Stressing that there was no such thing as a perfect judicial system  anywhere in the world, Raja Aziz said with the mandatory death sentence, mistakes could not later be corrected.

It is inherent in any judicial system that the innocent will be found guilty, he said, and an innocent man may be sentenced to death.

Raja Aziz cited the infamous British cases of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six whereby police were later found to have fabricated evidence during the trial to secure their conviction.

He said where there was a choice between a death sentence or life  imprisonment, there is a tendency for judges to choose life over death.

Given a choice, very few judges will impose the death penalty, he added.

Raja Aziz dismissed the notion that a mandatory death sentence acts as a deterrent for would-be murderers and drug traffickers.

Would you decide it was acceptable to murder someone just because the death penalty is removed? he asked, adding that there had not been any decrease in the number of drug addicts in the country since the death penalty came about. -
Death Penalty News Worldwide (original source: The Malaysian Star)

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