BNP to give ‘moral support’ if war crimes trials transparent, says Delwar

January 31, 2009

Staff correspondent
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Friday said it would lend ‘moral support’ to trial of war criminals ‘if it is done properly’.
‘BNP was never against holding trial of war crimes. We have moral support to the demand for trial of war criminals. But it must be done properly. It must not be politically motivated,’ BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain said Friday at his Armanitola residence in the Old Town of Dhaka.
When asked to clarify the word ‘properly’, Delwar, also a senior lawyer, said, ‘The government must maintain international standards and conventions while trying war crimes. The process must be transparent.’ He warned the government of dangers of a non-transparent process.
Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution on ‘immediate’ trial of war criminals of 1971.
Terming the trial of war crimes an old issue, he said, ‘It should have been settled long ago.’
Without naming Awami League, the BNP leader said, ‘Those who had been in power after the war of independence were expected to try the war criminals. But they did not do it.’
Referring to the Awami League’s ‘reluctance’ in the past to hold trial of the war criminals, he said the party had come to power again in 1996. ‘I do not understand why they did not try the war criminals at that time.’
When asked about the progress in the move to reorganise the BNP, Delwar said letters had been sent to the district and thana level leaders to attend consultation sessions with party chairperson Khaleda Zia. ‘The [party] standing committee will meet on February 1 to decide the mode of consultations and next strategies,’ he said.
Asked if there was any possibility of changing the party secretary general, he said the standing committee was the appropriate body to take a decision on the issue.


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