Life imprisonment for former Indian MP Sajjan Kumar for his role in 1984 mass murder of Sikhs

The former Indian MP Sajjan Kumar has been jailed for life over the 1984 Sikh massacres in New Delhi.

Kumar, 73, was an MP in 1984, when the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated and the mass murder of Sikhs that followed. He was tried with five others from 2010 but acquitted of all charges three years later.

That decision was overturned on Monday 21st December 2018 when he was convicted of crimes including abetting murder and criminal conspiracy.

Human rights specialist Schona Jolly QC advised on the case as an external international lawyer. The Delhi High Court took notice of international law, and said it viewed the killings in Delhi and across India as crimes against humanity. “A majority of the perpetrators of these horrific mass crimes enjoyed political patronage and were aided by an indifferent law enforcement agency,” the judges said, adding the crimes “will continue to shock the collective conscience of society for a long time to come.”

Schona said: ‘I am privileged to have played a very small role in the important work that led up to this milestone 1984 conviction. The Court’s judgment sends a crucial message to Indian politicians and society, noting that the mass killings were “neither the first instance of a mass crime nor, tragically, the last”, and calls for calls for a strengthening of the Indian legal system to close the loophole by which neither crimes against humanity nor genocide form part of the domestic criminal law. The legal team have worked tirelessly to get to this point and the Sikh community have been waiting a long time for a conviction of this nature.’

The link to the judgment is here.

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