12:00 AM, January 17, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 17, 2012

Int'l Crimes Tribunal fair

NHRC boss warns against questioning

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Staff Correspondent

Anyone who is questioning the International Crimes Tribunal is questioning the national judicial system and therefore, the very sovereignty of the country, said Prof Mizanur Rahman, chairman of National Human Rights Commission.
“The government answered these questions many a time and gave assurances that the war crimes trial will be of international standard,” he said.
“If it were me, I wouldn't even bother answering such questions”, the NHRC Chairman said while addressing a roundtable discussion at CIRDAP Auditorium in the city yesterday.
The Liberation War Museum in association with International Human Rights Clinic at the University of California and Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School organised the discussion on 'Non-Retroactivity of International Crimes Tribunal and Defining the Crimes against Humanity'.
Mizanur Rahman said that the tribunal is a domestic tribunal under the national legal system and it meets international standards, as the “national standards are in compliance with international standards".
Laurel E Fletcher, clinical professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, said such trials run the risk of turning into political show trials, where laws are bent to produce predetermined results.
She highlighted the need for a transparent mechanism through which the civil society can share its views with the tribunal.
"Several international cases show that new pieces of evidence brought in by civil society members actually helped the trial," said Fletcher.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said nobody would be prosecuted only for political revenge.
“I request the international community not to be misled by such false allegations by lobbyists engaged by those accused in the war crimes trial”, he said.
Barrister Sara Hossain, honorary director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Blast), urged all not to put any form of pressure on the tribunal and allow the trial to move at its own pace.
Briana Abrams, Sophie Kaiser and Maya Karwande from the University of California, Berkeley and Tessa Bialek and Freya Pitts from Yale Law School, gave presentations on the topic of the roundtable discussion.
State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam, Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Haque and barrister M Amir-Ul Islam, among others, spoke at the programme.

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