Referring to the postponement of the war crimes verdict on Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami because of his "illness", noted war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir yesterday demanded an amendment to the International Crimes Tribunal Rules of Procedure to stop recurrence of this kind of deferment.
He suggested that the tribunal read out the judgment, if necessary, in jail amid such circumstances. “If we accept it, in future we will see the accused fall sick on the day of the verdict pronouncement,” said the acting president of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee.
Kabir was delivering the Jahanara Imam Memorial Lecture-2014 onBangladesh's education system and the liberation war spirit in the capital's WVA Auditorium to mark the 20th death anniversary of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam, founder of the Nirmul Committee.
He said the postponement was a result of Jamaat's tactics to delay the war crimes trial and the prosecution's failure to convince the tribunal to deliver the verdict in the accused's absence. “We want to say that the prosecution has failed to convince the tribunal that the trial is being conducted under a special act instead of customary law.”
Regarding the demand for Jamaat's trial as a party, he said there was no problem trying the party under the existing act, unless there was any political consideration of the government.
Kabir cautioned, “More delay in trying Jamaat will be more threatening for the nation.” He also said that if this government did not try Jamaat, no other government would do it.
Chairperson of Sector Commanders Forum Air Vice-Marshal (retd) AK Khandker expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of war crimes trials. “In the last six years, only one war criminal has been given punishment. It is not acceptable,” he said.
Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday handed over Jahanar Imam Smriti Padak to Sector Commanders Forum and noted economist Prof Abul Barkat.