Bangladesh to ratify Rome Statute for '71 war crimes trial
Dhaka: Bangladesh is set to ratify the Rome Statute 1998 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try those accused of war crimes during the country's 1971 war of independence.
The statute that Dhaka signed in 1999 is expected to be ratified by the cabinet before March 26, the independence day.
Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC. Among other things, the statute establishes the court's functions, jurisdiction and structure. It came into force July 01, 2002.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has repeatedly pledged to hold the trial. Her government has amended the domestic law, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, to bring it in tune with global laws and norms.
Bangladesh has been demanding apology from Pakistan, whose soldiers took part in the massacres of hundreds of non-combatants in what was then known as East Pakistan.
Islamabad says 39 years have passed since those traumatic events, and Bangladesh should move on.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said Pakistan was campaigning against the proposed trial while the US had pledged support.
"Some anti-liberation forces in different countries are campaigning against the trial but they will not succeed as the trial will be held conforming to the international standard," The Daily Star quoted the minister as saying.
Bangladesh has been collecting documents and evidence from different countries for holding the trial, Ahmed said.
Dhaka says it has evidence against an estimated 1,500 people, among them leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the country's largest Islamist party.