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Hasina warns of conspiracy to scuttle trial of war criminals

Last Updated: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 18:18

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina has warned of a conspiracy to scuttle the trial of "war
criminals" accused of genocide and those who sided with the
Pakistan Army during the 1971 `Liberation war`.

Hasina, who underlined her government`s determination
to bring to justice the war criminals and complete the
unfinished task of country`s founding leader Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman, asked the people to remain vigilant.

"As the process of the trial of war criminals (has)
started, a conspiracy is being hatched by certain quarters
against it," she said at a party function yesterday to mark
the 39th anniversary of Independence in the capital.

She said Sheikh Mujib had started the trial, which
could not be finished because of his tragic assassination on
August 15, 1975.

"We have shouldered this responsibility again to try
these identified criminals for their brutal activities they
committed against humanity in 1971," she was quoted as saying
by the Star online based on a report in the BSS.

The Awami League leader said those who have
"politically rehabilitated the war criminals" after the brutal
assassination of Bangabandhu along with most of his family
members "may try to create instability in the country ahead of
the trial".

Many of the BNP and its key Jamaat-e-Islami party (JI)
leaders and several other rightwing groups have been accused
of "war crimes" and helping the Pakistani military during the
struggle for independence.

Media reports have said that authorities have
gathered evidence against 25 high-profile "war criminals",
mostly from JeI, an ally of main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party.

The government on March 25 set up the special
investigation agency and a 12-member prosecution team with
Advocate Golam Ali Tipu as the chief prosecutor for the trial
of "war criminals" accused of genocide.

It has also set up a three-member special tribunal for
the trial of "war criminals" with High Court Division judge
Mohammad Nizamul Haque as its chairman.

According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided
by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people,
raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave
their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.

Jamaat`s chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary
General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid led the so-called Al-Badr
forces, which is widely believed to have been involved in
genocide, rape and murder of frontline intellectuals in an
effort to cripple the emerging nation in 1971.


First Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 18:18

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