War crimes trial `essential` for B`desh: UN chief

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 00:55

Dhaka: Visiting UN Secretary General
Ban-Ki-moon on Tuesday supported the government`s initiative to
bring to justice those accused of "crimes against humanity"
during Bangladesh`s 1971 `Liberation War`.

"For any nation, dealing with the darker aspects of the
past is essential to creating unity and building a healthy,
brighter future," he said in a lecture at Dhaka University,
which conferred upon him an honorary doctor of law degree.
He said Bangladesh was seeking to deal more fully with
the legacy of 1971, establishing a war crimes tribunal and
took "other important steps" in this regard.

Ban said these issues "are difficult, to be sure...(but)
essential".

The ruling Awami League party of Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina constituted a high-powered three-member International
Crimes Tribunal in March 2010 to bring to justice the war
criminals.
The UN chief’s comment, on the penultimate day of his
four-day Bangladesh tour, came as the main opposition
Bangladesh nationalist Party (BNP) has questioned the fairness
of the trial.

Two of its own leaders and five of the top leaders fo the
largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, a key ally of the BNP
are facing trial on war crime charges.

The government was trying to mobilise international
supports for the process amid a campaign against the trial by
the main opposition parties.

If convicted, the accused could face the highest death
penalty and the lowest 10 years of imprisonment for crimes
like massacre, murders, arsons and rapes.

Under the International Crimes Tribunal Act, the convicts
could file appeals only before the apex Appellate Division of
the Supreme Court.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 00:55

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