DHAKA – A new motion on Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has been submitted At the British Parliament, demanding reconstitution of the tribunal and suspending all verdicts issued against opposition leaders.
“International Community feels that trial of war crimes in Bangladesh did not maintain international standard and laws so all the trial was defective,” Barrister Mohammad Belayet Hossain, defense lawyer of ICT, told this OnIslam.net.
“Therefore, they want to suspend all verdict of Bangladesh International War Crimes (ICT),” he added.
Hossain was commenting on the motion presented earlier in October at the British parliament by 14 members of the House of Lords.
The 569 motion was led by Ann Clwyd, lord member of Labour Party, with others 14 members of the House of Lords on 15th October.
It expressed concerns about ICT’s failure, which despite its name is a domestic court, to uphold international fair trial standards.
It was particularly alarmed about the denial of due process rights in the case of Abdul Kader Mullah, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party convicted of war crimes, who has recently been sentenced to death with no possibility of the sentence being reviewed, in contradiction with Bangladesh's international human rights obligations.
The motion also highlighted criticism raised in connection with the trial of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party MP, Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, who was recently convicted on charges including murder and genocide and sentenced to death.
While holding perpetrators to account for the atrocities committed in the 1971 war is important, the denial of due process in these trials threatens to undermine the very legitimacy of the ICT and result in further political instability and violence, it added.
On the other hand a group of members of the House of Lords, along with leading international war crimes and human rights lawyers, have written open letter to Britain’s foreign secretary asks UK government’s immediate intervention.
“Only through international pressure to reconstitute this tribunal, adhering to internationally accepted norms of human rights and fairness, can Bangladeshis truly reconcile with the past and move forward as a nation,” said in the letter.
“As Bangladesh’s largest donor, and a country vehemently opposed to the death penalty, the British Government can no longer remain silent. The International Community must surely condemn a government that sanctions the arrest and execution of political opponents prior to an election.
“If Bangladesh continues its current trajectory; another political tinderbox may be lit in this already troubled region. We hope you will use your high office to make clear to the Bangladeshi Government that these tribunals must not be manipulated to eliminate political opponents,” it added.
The new steps taken by British lawmakers have stirred controversy, with some supporting it and others seeing it as an intervention in Bangladesh affairs.
“All law and procedure maintain international standard in the Trials of the ICT, Bangladesh do nothing wrong,” Haider Ali, prosecutor of ICT told OnIslam.net about motion of UK parliament.
He added, “I feel they are misinformed about the ICT trials and this kind of motion in UK parliament is discourtesy.”
Ali’s opinion was not shared be many barristers who saw international intervention necessary to protect human rights.
“International community said that all trials are defective so must be retrial of all verdict with the present and participation of International community and lawyers,” Barrister Belayet Hossain said.
Mohammad Belayet said that International community feels no respect for international laws and human rights in the Bangladesh ICT trials.
So members of the House of Lords, UK observation is correct and this is not interfering of Bangladesh domestic trials.
“International community thought that this of their international obligation as civil society and civilized nation,” Barrister Belayet opined that.
“They observed that Bangladesh state mechanism has influenced war crimes trial, so this is the distinctive violation of international laws.”
Haris Uddin Ahmad, a political activist, agreed, opining that UK parliament’s motion is for the sake of impartial justice so this is must be supported by the ICT and all Bangladeshi people.
“United Kingdom is the county of mother of democracy and as a democratic country and civilized nation they have done a good job for ICT Bangladesh,” Uddin Ahmad, 55, said.
“In Bangladesh ICT trials is questionable so their move about is ICT is right step,
In Bangladesh political leaders of both ruling and opposition parties don’t agree to comments about the ICT cause of contempt of court.
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