Monday, October 25

WAR CRIMES: Law minister rejects demand of trial in third country


Many intellectuals were killed by Razakars and Al-Badrs at Rayerbazar killing ground prior to the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Star file photo

Online Report: Many intellectuals were killed by Razakars and Al-Badrs at Rayerbazar killing ground prior to the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.

The law minister today rejected a suggestion of holding trial of 1971 war crimes in another country, terming it “unrealistic” and “unreasonable”.

The lawyers of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders who are facing war crimes charges allegedly made the suggestion during their meeting with US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues Stephen Rapp at a hotel in Dhaka last night.

Rapp met Law Minister Anisul Huq at the latter’s office at Secretariat this morning. When he came out, reporters raised the issue with the law minister.

“It is an unrealistic and unreasonable demand,” he said.

Talking about the meeting, the minister said Rapp has apparently expressed satisfaction over the proceedings of war crimes cases.

He said Rapp has raised question about the death penalty provision for the convicted war crimes.

“I told him (Rapp) that no punishment other than death penalty is enough for the grievous offence committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971,” Huq added.

Stephen J Rapp, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, looks at the remains of some of the country's martyrs at Liberation War Museum in the capital on Monday, accompanied by Akku Chowdhury, a freedom fighter also a trustee of the museum. Photo: Star

Stephen J Rapp, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, looks at the remains of some of the country’s martyrs at Liberation War Museum in the capital on Monday, accompanied by Akku Chowdhury, a freedom fighter also a trustee of the museum.

Replying to a question, the law minister said the government has prepared a draft on the amendment of a law for trying and punishing organisations for war crimes.

“It will be placed before the cabinet for approval,” Huq added. He however refused to say when the draft will be tabled.

Emerging from the meeting with the law minister, Rapp told reporters that he had a good discussion over holding the trial of crimes against humanity committed in 1917.

Details about their conversation could not be known immediately.