Friday, June 14, 2024

Tribunal starts work today

War crimes trial
Tribunal starts work today
The law minister, war crimes tribunal judges, investigation agency chief, and some of the members of the agency and the prosecution team on Sunday visited their offices and the courtroom, set up at the old High Court building on the Supreme Court premises.
The tribunal, agency and prosecution team are scheduled to start functioning today.
State minister for law Quamrul Islam and home secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder accompanied by the tribunal’s investigation team and prosecutors, met law minister Shafique Ahmed at his residence in the evening to discuss the strategies for the work of the tribunal.
After the meeting, Quamrul told reporters that they had discussed about how the investigation agency or prosecutors
would function the prosecution would be a new experience for them.
‘The agency with suo moto power will collect documents, gathered by individuals, international and local agencies like Sector Commanders’ Forum, in last 39 years after the war of liberation, and will use them as evidence,’ said Quamrul.
He also said that the investigation agency would first work on the identified people suspected to have committed war crimes. One of them flew out of the country on Saturday before a list of the suspects reached the immigration authorities.
Quamrul, however, declined to disclose the names of the suspects on the list.
Earlier in the morning, the law minister, Shafique Ahmed, tribunal chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq and two members – Justice ATM Fazle Kabir and AKM Zahir Ahmed – and investigation agency chief Abdul Matin visited the offices and courtroom to inspect the infrastructure and logistics.
After the visit, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Md Nizamul Huq, sought cooperation of all for holding trial of the war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the country’s war of independence in 1971.
The investigation agency chief, Abdul Matin, said that the law should be amended empowering the investigators to arrest any war crimes suspect.
The International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, under which the trial will be held, does not empower the agency to arrest any war crimes suspect, Matin told reporters at his office.
   ‘But,’ he said, ‘we will arrest any suspect, if necessary, with the permission of the tribunal.’
‘A set of rules needs to be formulated in line with the law so that the agency have the power to arrest anyone allegedly involved in the crimes against humanity during the liberation war,’ Matin said.
The government on March 25 formed a three-member tribunal and a seven-member investigation agency and appointed 12 prosecutors initiating the process for the trial of war crimes.
When asked about the timeframe for the trial, the law minister said, ‘According to the law, no timeframe can be imposed on the tribunal for the trial.’
About the minister’s comments, Justice Nizamul Huq told reporters, ‘Judges have no feeling but have burden of responsibility.’
Talking to the reporters, Matin, a former additional secretary who leads the seven-member investigation agency, said that the agency would first collect local and international publications and evidence on the war crimes of 1971 from different archives.
He also said that if someone lodged complaints of war crimes against any individual, the agency would verify it on the basis of local and international evidence.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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