The fact that, only three out of the 11 labour court cases have reached the trial stage indicating slow pace of justice dispensation in the Rana Plaza building collapse, is totally unacceptable.
Three criminal cases - two by the state and one on behalf of a dependant of a deceased worker - and 11 other cases were filed, after the eight-storey building collapsed leaving at least 1131 people dead and about 2,000 wounded. Of the 42 accused in two criminal cases, 6 are now in jail, 23 are remanded on bail and 13 others remain absconding.
The most shocking thing is that Hearings in the two criminal cases are yet to start, as they are scheduled to begin later this month, despite the fact that the Criminal Investigation Department submitted the charge sheets in both the cases on June 1, 2014. The charges brought include duplicity in the building design, constructing floors outside the original design, use of substandard materials, failure to supervise the work, sending the workers to their death by not taking any precautionary measures despite being aware of the risks, coercing them into work, sheltering the criminals and helping them escape. According to rights groups, the legal cases are expected to continue for several years before reaching their conclusions, which makes the delay in proceedings even more worrisome. They said that the trials should be held under the speedy trial tribunal to ensure early dispensation of justice for all the victims. Survivors and families of the deceased have also expressed their disappointment over the delay in starting the trial proceedings, as it is, needless to say, both delaying the delivery of justice, as well as draining their economic and other resources. While those who were maimed along with the families of the deceased continue to wait for justice, the principal accused in the incident, also a local Juba League leader spends his days in the comfort of a prison hospital getting the food of his choice and whatever else he desires, according to another New Age report.
This awful situation is clearly damaging people's faith in the justice delivery system, both domestically and internationally, and must be redressed immediately by the government. we must not forget the famous quote of Gladstone: 'Justice delayed Justice denied'- Given that justice has already been denied for three years and that once trials are under way, it will take a significant amount of time for them to reach their necessary conclusions, the authorities concerned need to begin their proceedings without further delay.
In addition, despite the preceding delay, in the interest of quick justice dispensation from here onwards, the government should also consider holding these trials under the speedy trial tribunal ensuring both transparency and accountability as recommended by experts. the authority must do something so that the wounded and killed labours get their compensation as early as possible.
Khairul Islam is a Human rights activist