Friday, August 06, 2010
Third, barrister Muhammad Molla and Md Nazrul Islam, British supporters of the Jamaat Islami in Bangladesh, mainly to discuss the war crimes trials in Bangladesh. So far, five leaders of the JI have been arrested on blasphemy charges, and then charged under the War Crimes Act while they were in custody. The Parliamentary Human Rights Group had asked the International Bar Association to comment on the compatibility of the Act of 1973 with modern internationally accepted standards of war crimes legislation and they had recommended a number of amendments. The PHRG had drawn this to the attention of the Bangladesh government, asking them to consider these recommendations, and although they did so, no changes were made to the 1973 Act. Our discussion concerned mainly the possibility of getting international observers - and the IBA would be an obvious choice if they were willing - to observe the trials, and comment not only on the effects of sticking to the 1973 legislation, but also the rules of procedure and evidence which have been developed uniquely for these trials, and the conditions under which the defendants have been remanded for much longer than the three days stipulated by the law.
The PHRG is not against the trial of the 1971 war criminals, but wishes to ensure that the process should not be open to criticism.