THIS is apropos of the news item ‘Top Jamaat leader found guilty of Bangladesh war crime’ (July 15).
According to the news report, a war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh sentenced to life a former Islamic party leader, Ghulam Azam.
The trial and verdict by the Bangladesh government after 42 long years of the conflict is beyond comprehension.
If we call war genocide, then it cannot be denied that it was committed by both sides.
Did the Mukti Bahini or other forces like it not commit acts of genocide?
To determine in a impartial manner who did what, there should have been an independent tribunal, preferably under the aegis of the UN.
It should have consisted of internationally known and respected impartial persons with clear mandate and terms of reference.
They should have held proper investigations, recorded all evidences and examined circumstances before giving a verdict.
Besides, there is a forum for trials against such crimes at the international level which is known as war crimes tribunals at The Hague.
Under various treaties to which every country of the world, including Bangladesh, is a signatory, all governments are bound to raise such issues at that forum.
Anybody charged with committing excesses or war crimes should be tried there to maintain objectivity and avoid reprisals, revenge, allegations of partiality, prejudice and vindictiveness.
Since Bangladesh government was itself a party to all those events, any trial by them of their opponents would be travesty of justice, prejudice and against the law.
The Bangladesh government if still proceeds with that would not only flout the international law and rules of justice, it would also be committing a crime of murder.
The international community should take stock of this. It must intervene for the sake of justice and enforce rule of law. It must bring all to justice strictly according to international law in accordance with established norms of world’s judicial systems.
S. ISRAR ALI Houston, USA
ACCORDING to media reports, Bangladesh’s special 1971 war investigation tribunal sentenced to life another Jamaat-i-Islami activist, Ghulam Azam. He is 90 years old and can’t walk.
The Jamaat-i-Islami’s third activist received the sentence after the formation of war investigation tribunal set up by Sheikh Hasina’s government.
Now due to political unrest and continuous strikes, the country’s poor are paying a high price.
Now public protest and strikes are becoming a daily routine in the country. More than half a million people gathered on streets of the capital city of Dhaka and showed their anger against the government.
The use of force by security forces has led to the death of hundreds of protesters. Things have worsened and the agitation is spreading outside Dhaka. Several videos are circulating on social media showing heavily armed police targeting unarmed protestors. Human rights organisations claim that the death toll is much higher because security forces use live ammunition against unarmed protestors.
Opposition parties claim that the government is trying to divert the attention of the people from real issues. Only last month more than 1,000 people lost their lives when a garment factory collapsed during working hours.
In another incident 10 people lost their lives due to fire in another garment factory.
Now the European Union show serious concerns over poor safety standard of Bangladeshi textile industry which is the backbone of the country’s economy.
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ Jeddah