The government is planning to reconstitute the prosecution team of the International Crimes Tribunal against a backdrop of longstanding infighting and lack of coordination between its members.
“I am planning to reshuffle the prosecution team members after the delivery of the verdicts [in the pending cases], since there are some disagreements and ego clashes between them,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told The Daily Star yesterday.
“Those who are performing well will stay in the [prosecution] team, and those who cannot do well will go,” he added.
Two war crimes tribunals have so far kept five cases waiting for verdicts since November last year after the completion of all proceedings. It is not known when the judgments will be delivered.
Anisul Huq, however, said he speculated the verdicts would be delivered soon.
The rift over power among the prosecutors has continued for long. But it was intensified in April this year when Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arief Tipoo went on medical leave and Syed Haider Ali took the charge as acting chief prosecutor.
Even after Tipoo joined office on April 30, Haider Ali clung to the position of acting chief prosecutor by continuing to exercise the power he no longer had.
The clashes between the prosecutors came to light when at least two of them brought allegations of professional misconduct against each other.
Amid such a situation, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on June 1 said the prosecution should be reconstituted as soon as possible and Tipoo should step down "considering his old-age".
Earlier this month, the government removed a prosecutor for profession misconduct and another prosecutor stepped down on health grounds. The prosecution now has 19 members.
Anisul Huq yesterday said he had held meetings with the prosecution team twice and requested them not to be locked into conflicts. “But they did not patch up their quarrels.”
Meanwhile, the government has appointed Mustafizur Rahman, a deputy secretary of the law ministry, as registrar of the ICT, according to a law ministry circular issued on August 21.
Mostafizur will discharge the additional duty as the previous registrar, AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud, was transferred to Chittagong as district and session judge.