Gerakan: Coroner's Court senseless without IPCMC

The latest suggestions to set up a coroner's court and centralised lock-ups to combat deaths in custody is “senseless” if there is no oversight body to keep the police in check, says Gerakan.

The implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is therefore fundamental, Gerakan vice-president A Kohilan Pillay said today.

"It makes no sense if the government decide to only establish a coroner's court and centralised lock-ups devoid of the IPCMC."
Kohilan (left) said the rate of custodial deaths “seems to be increasing and I find it alarming”.

“Ignoring calls for greater oversight will only aggravate the situation," he said in a statement.

Kohilan said even though the police have the power to apprehend a suspect, it does not extend to abusing the suspect or using force or coercion to elicit confession.

He said the existence of the IPCMC could help restore the public's confidence in the police force.

Other critics of the new move have also said that coroner's courts and centralised lock-ups will not address the core issue, that both measures would not be effective without the IPCMC in place.
'It is about accountability'

“We wish to state that the issue is not about the centralised lock-ups, investigation rooms or CCTV cameras.

“It is about accountability and taking actions on those who breach the lock-up rules, abuse power and brutalise suspects,” said PKR head of legal and human rights bureau Latheefa Koya.

Stop State Violence Movement, a coalition of 29 NGOs, said the coroner's court would still be weak without the IPCMC as it would entail the police investigating their own personnel.

Following the rising number of custodial deaths in just the first half of the year, with three occurring within a span of weeks, many groups have revived calls for the IPCMC, which was recommended by a Royal Commission of Inquiry in 2005.

However, the government has dodged the calls, saying there was already the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which although criticised as watered-down, could be improved by giving it prosecution powers.





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