Friday, February 15, 2013
Bangladesh: Resist pressure to push for death sentences at war crimes tribunal
Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal that was set up in 2010 to try people suspected of crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.
There is a mass protests going on in Bangladesh calling for the death penalty that Bangladesh’s ICT is promoting. ICT in Bangladesh recently sentenced Abdul Kalam Azad to death, following a trial that did not provide for all the guarantees of a fair trial.
Crimes against humanity and war crimes that was committed at a colossal scale in 1971 in Bangladesh by Pakistani military and their local collaborators, in a land of laws, the accused cannot be sentences based upon popular emotions and demands. The allegations must be lawfully proven beyond reasonable doubts to get a conviction in a court of law. Then the sentencing must be done by a judge. As for the present trials of the war criminals, it is too late. In more than 41 years, most of the criminals and victims passed away and of course, a lot of witnesses and authentic evidences have been lost. The present trials’ cause can only been seen as emotion of people who always wanted 1971 war criminals to meet the death sentence. Bangladesh’s ICT should give the most stringent fair trial and due process guarantees in cases where death sentences are imposed. The principle of equality of arms should be respected at all stages of the proceedings for the process requires at a minimum that defendants are able to speak freely with their counsel, and have adequate time to conduct their defense, and the ability to call witnesses to speak on their behalf. The death penalty process that Bangladesh’s ICT is promoting is against the human rights.
Link to the ariticle: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bangladesh-resist-pressure-push-death-sentences-war-crimes-tribunal-2013-02-15