By- Swadesh Roy
October 30, 2011 has taken place in the history of Bangladesh. The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh has started trial of an accused war criminal named Delwar Hossien Sayedee. He has been indicated with 20 counts, including 3,000 killings, rape and arson during the nine month long liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.
1971 to October 30, 2011; it is a long way. The people of Bangladesh have to walk in ages with terrible ups and downs. Now it is reality, the people of Bangladesh could successfully start the trial of the war criminals of 1971. Two days after of saydee’s trail, the tribunal has ordered the prosecution to submit formal charge against another four accused war criminals on December 5. These four accused war criminals are, Motiur Rahaman Nizami, Ali Ahasan Mohammad Mojaheed, Mohammad Kamruzzaman and Abdul Kader Mollah. The investigator wing of the tribunal has also completed their investigation against these four and submitted it. Prosecutors of the International Crimes Tribunal have informed the tribunal that, another accused war criminal Golam Azam’s crime investigation has been completed.
To set up an International Crimes Tribunal and make sure trial of the war criminals of 1971 are election commitment of this present government of Bangladesh. The young generation of Bangladesh, who did not see the war crime and the freedom fight of Bangladesh-they are now the young force of Bangladesh. They earnestly feel that, war criminals are the rotten part of the society and failure to assure their trial is a black mark of the nation. Nation has to come out of this black mark. In favour of this demand, they give their verdict to this government in last election. That is why, in the first parliament session on 26 January 2009, parliament of Bangladesh took a decision that, government will set up a war criminal tribunal under the constitution of Bangladesh and will start the trail of the war criminal.
On 25 March 2009 the cabinet took decision to set up International Crimes Tribunal under 1973 act of Bangladesh constitution and appoint prosecutor and set up an investigation wings of this tribunal. On March 2010 law ministry of Bangladesh set up International Crimes Tribunal and appointed prosecutors and set up an investigation wings. This court starts its work from 28 March 2010.
After starting this tribunal, home ministry starts arresting accused war criminals. On2 9 June 2010 Motiur Rahaman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Delwar Hossaien Sayedee were arrested. OnJuly 13, 2010 Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdu Kader Mollah were arrested. They all are the leader of the Jamat e Islami Bangladesh.
Jamat Islami is a party of Bangladesh which takes part in the election of the parliament of Bangladesh. It is a recognized party by the election commission of Bangladesh. But it is their one side, they have another side which is of terrorism. Most of the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations in Bangladesh are backed by the Jamat and these are basically their co-organization or another wing of Jamat. Their students’ organization, Islami Chhatro Shibir is declared as a terrorist organization by the US state department. Besides these five, court has arrested another two accused war criminals; one is Salauddin Kader Chowdhury another is Abdul Alim. Salauddin Kader Chowdhury was arrested on 16 December 2010 and Alim was arrested on 27 March 2011. Alim is the first accused war criminal who is on bail now on the health ground.
Investigations wing source says, investigation of Salauddin Kader Chowhury has been over. It will be submitted by the prosecutors to the court soon. So, it is clear now that the trial of one accused has started already. Another four accused war criminals’ charge will frame on 5 December that means their trial will be started within mid December. However, now it can be said that two years ago it got the ball rolling. Now ball is rolling constantly.
The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh’s status is equivalent to the High Court of Bangladesh. So if the ball continues to roll in this way the other five or six accused war criminals’ trial will be completed within next three or four months. Then it will be applied by the convicted in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. According to the process of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh it will not take a long time to get the verdict of the Supreme Court. That is why, people ofBangladeshwill see the verdict of the Supreme Court of the war criminals soon. So the people ofBangladeshcan say that, they have achieved their goal. They have made sure the trial of the war criminal of 1971.
If proven guilty, the war criminal could face the death sentence. If Bangladesh could give the highest punishment of these war criminals, the politics of Bangladesh will be changed. Bangladesh will enter a true democratic age and Islamic fundamentalist terrorist problem will be solved. In Bangladesh, these war criminals are the root of all sort of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist. They bring money from some monarchy led and Army intelligence led country and cultivate Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in Bangladesh with that money. If Bangladesh can ensure highest punishment for them it will be able to stop the cultivation of the fundamentalist terrorist for ever.
The geopolitical status of Bangladeshis very much important for the regional peace. It is also important in the war against terrorism for the world. So, trial of the war criminals of Bangladesh will help to free Bangladeshi democratic politics from terrorism; but it is also important for regional and world peace. It is to be mentioned here that, two of the main accused war criminals are accused of the arms smuggling case in Bangladesh. Those arms were being smuggled in favour of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), a dissident group of Indian province Assam. On the other hand many of the workers of these war criminals are trained by Taliban.
Swadesh Roy is the Executive editor of Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be reached at