Next phase of Syariah penal code underway

|    Rokiah Mahmud    |

TOWARDS the implementation of the next phase of the Syariah Penal Code 2013, a draft on Criminal Procedures Code on Syariah (CPC Syariah) has been approved by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council and has been consented to by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for gazetting.

Elaborating on the details on the Syariah Penal Code 2013 at the fifth day of the 14th Legislative Council session yesterday, YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, the Minister of Religious Affairs, shared the first phase has been implemented on May 1, 2014, while the next phase will be carried out according to the right administrative time.

The minister added that the phased implementation of Syariah Penal Code 2013 aimed to provide or enable strategic planning and early preparation in orderly manner and concrete actions by various relevant agencies including investigations, prosecution and judiciary with the implementation of sentences and penalties.

However, several other procedures need to be looked upon before the implementation of CPC Syariah whereby a grace period will be given especially for law practitioners, justice practitioners and execution of the sentences.

He added that the draft provides all rules (law) and prosecutions that will act as a guide for agencies and parties to implement their roles and responsibilities in upholding justice. Apart from CPC Syariah, provisions towards a number of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have already been provided by all relevant parties in ensuring investigation procedures, prosecutions, trials and implementation of sentences are in accordance to the prescribed CPC Syariah.

The minister explained that the SOPs involved coordination of religious enforcement division and the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) that relate with investigations and enforcement; for prosecution and collaborative coordination with the Syar’ie prosecutor division and the attorney generals; for Hudud and Qisas that relate with trial at Syariah court; for executions of sentences under the Syariah Penal Code 2013 (involving whipping, death sentences, imprisonment, cutting of hands and feet as penalties, stoning and Qisas).

There is also an SOP for medical officers at the Ministry of Health that acts as the Manual Working Procedure and Reference Term for the ministry in implementing Syariah Law.