12:00 AM, January 18, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 18, 2012

War Crimes Trial

HR boss critical of western countries' role

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Staff Correspondent

The western countries are playing a double standard regarding the war crimes trial in Bangladesh.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Dr Mizanur Rahman expressed this view yesterday, referring to his talks with a US diplomat a recently.
Speaking at a roundtable on "Trial of war criminals: national duty", organised by Peshajibi Samannaya Parishad and held at the Jatiya Press Club, he said the diplomat told him that the trial of war crimes in Bangladesh will have to be done following international standard.
Asked about international standard, and if it is like the trial of Saddam Hossain, the diplomat replied Saddam was tried in a national court, not in an international court, the NHRC chief mentioned.
“Then I said the trial in our country is being done in a national court and why you (diplomat) are raising the question of international standard,” Mizanur Rahman recalled.
"This shows the double standard the western countries are playing. And this is being done because a lot of money is being spent to engage lobbyists in Washington DC, New York, London and Paris, and they are doing their job.”
These lobbyist are making all efforts to create pressure or confusion that international standard is not being followed in the war crimes trial in Bangladesh, Mizanur added.
He noted that the tribunal trying war crimes is named International Crimes Tribunal but that does not mean it is an international tribunal. “It is a national tribunal which is very much a national institution. And this tribunal will try those crimes which are defined as international crimes,” he added.
He stressed that there is no scope of ambiguity about the tribunal, its standard and its dispensation of justice. But many people, including a section of politicians, are dishing out wrong information about it, he alleged.
The NHRC chairman demanded increasing the number of tribunals to complete the trial of war crimes quickly.
He urged the prosecutors of the tribunal not to waste time by producing 70 to 80 witnesses in the cases of the accused about whose crimes the entire country knows. It is possible to prove their guilt by producing a small number of witnesses, he said.
Mizanur said the war crimes trial is not trial of only some people since the nation's future is linked with it. He warned the pro-liberation forces, “If you fail to complete the trial, darkness will never end and nobody will come to protect you.”
Turning to the media, he said, “If you show the pictures of those accused of crimes against humanity for the sake of neutrality, please show the pictures of also those people who were tortured or killed by them.”
Parishad President Justice AFM Mesbahuddin chaired the roundtable while Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique and Prof Anwar Hossain, among others, spoke.

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