Govt starts formal work to try war criminals

March 26, 2009

Reviewing International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973
Staff Correspondent
The government has started its formal work to try the war criminals, who were allegedly involved in the genocide during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.
Against the backdrop of the unanimous decision, passed in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) in the ongoing session of the ninth Parliament, an inter-ministerial meeting on war-crime trial met for the first time on Wednesday.
The meeting, with Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun in the chair, yesterday reviewed different related-provisions of the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 whether under this law the war criminals could be tried.
Law Minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed told reporters that the government has made a final decision for trial of country’s war criminals’ accused under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act of 1973.
He said the meeting is also examining whether war crimes trials would be possible under existing laws.
“The process of bringing the accused to trial is already under process in many cases,” the minister added.
Soon after coming out from the inter-ministerial meeting on war crimes issues, State Minister for Home Affairs Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj said, “Our government is committed to ensure the trial of war criminals at any cost. Besides, it was an election pledge of the Awami League.”
Referring to the bills recently passed in the House in this connection, he said, “The trial of war criminals will begin soon. The ongoing parliament session recently passed a resolution for quick trial of the war criminals. Earlier, lawmaker Masud-us-Samad Chowdhury of Sylhet raised the much-talked-about issue in the House seeking the trial of war criminals.”
After the outcome of about two-hour-meeting, Sohel Taj said that as part of the preliminary discussion, many related-issues including the formation of tribunal, appointment of prosecutors and investigation agencies, dominated the discussion.
The State Minister for Home Affairs, however, did not take any question from newsmen but sought all-out cooperation from the journalists.
“In all aspects, the media people should deliver objective news and unveil the actual truth for the sake of the country and its people,” he added.
Among others, Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Secretaries of the Home Ministry and War of Liberation Affairs Ministry, Additional Attorney-General, IGP, Representatives of RAB, Special Branch and NSI were present at the meeting.
Earlier, the government – including the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina – in different times, sought help of the international community including UN, EU, US and UK.
In the mean time, the authorities concerned have decided to take necessary steps to gather documents on genocide in 1971 and bring back war criminals who fled the country then.
Besides, the government had already imposed a restriction on suspected war criminals and has barred them from going abroad.
According to intelligence sources, the law enforcers are keeping close watch upon their overall movements and collecting different evidences regarding war crimes during the Independence war in 1971.
Here it may be mentioned, in some places of the country, some alleged war criminals have been arrested so far.

Courtesy of The Bangladesh Today

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