Anti-war crimes platforms Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and Gonojagoron Mancha yesterday strongly protested the law minister's comments that the trial of the Jamaat-e-Islami as an organisation for crimes against humanity in 1971 cannot be held right at this moment.
The Nirmul Committee leaders expressed astonishment over Law Minister Anisul Huq's “negative” comments, and demanded that the prime minister remove all barriers and confusions over holding the trial of war criminals.
Anisul Huq on May 29 reportedly said Jamaat could not be tried as an organisation at this moment for three reasons.
He said the provisions of the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act state about the trial of organisations but it did not say anything about the punishment.
It might create an adverse impact if Jamaat's trial is held at an International Crimes Tribunal, since a case over its registration is pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, he said.
Thirdly, according to the law minister, some of the Jamaat leaders, who committed crimes against humanity during the country's Liberation War in 1971, have been tried and punished, and if they are tried again, it might be confrontational.
Yesterday, the Nirmul Committee in a statement said the proceedings of the ongoing trial of the 1971 crimes against humanity would be hampered due to the law minister's “ignorant and misleading” comments.
The remarks will rather fuel Jamaat's ongoing campaign at home and abroad for making the trial procedures questionable, the statement said.
The Nirmul Committee leaders said for the last 22 years they had been demanding the trial of Jamaat as an organisation for their involvement in genocide and war crimes.
The trial will turn into a farce, if Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League, Nejame Islami and their collaborators are not tried, they said, adding that the Jamaat leaders, who have been tried by the ICTs, had committed the offences as per the party's decision.
The war criminal organisations had been tried and punished at Nuremburg Trial and in different countries, they said, adding that if the law minister had been aware of those trials, he could not have made the comments.
There is no link between the trial of Jamaat at the ICTs and the appeals pending with the SC against the cancellation of its registration, they said.
Justice Mohammad Ghulam Rabbani, Prof Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir, Justice Syed Amirul Islam, journalist Kamal Lohani and Prof Ajoy Roy were, among others, signatories of the statement.
Meanwhile, Gonojagoron Mancha activists yesterday staged a rally before the National Museum protesting the law minister's comment.
Its Spokesperson Imran H Sarker said that they would stage a sit-in in front of the ministry on June 2 unless the minister withdrew the comments.
The Chittagong chapter of Gonojagoron Mancha also protested the law minister' comments.
The activists brought out a procession from Cheragi intersection in the city around 4:00 pm.
A total of 35 other organisations including Projonmo '71, Amra Muktijuddhar Santan (We are children of freedom fighters), Chetona 71, Aparajeyo Bangla, Kobita Parishad, in a joint statement condemned the law minister's comments.
When the whole nation is demanding the ban of Jamaat-e-Islami, such a statement is unwarranted, conspiratorial and ill-motivated, the statement said.