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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