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

Attacks will only speed up war crimes trial

PM warns 'plotters'; threatens to try them under Sharia law, if need be

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Staff Correspondent

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said those attacking law enforcers and trying to hinder the war crimes trial could be tried under sharia.
“The more excesses they do, the faster will be the war crimes trials. There will be no let-up in the trials,” she said.
The government knows how to deal with those who are attacking police and out to save the war criminals. Besides, there are even alternative means like sharia and qiyas to try them, she said.
The prime minister was addressing a meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee at her Gono Bhaban residence.
Hasina, also president of the ruling AL, said attacking police would bring no good for Jamaat-Shibir.
Her comments follow a spate of attacks on the police by activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student body Islami Chhatra Shibir. The Islamist party has lately stepped up its demonstrations for a halt to the trials of its top brass on charges of war crimes.
Contacted, noted jurist M Zahir said it would not be possible to try anyone under sharia [Islamic law] straight away. Those attacking the police could be tried under the traditional laws of the land.
“If the trials have to be done under sharia, the Islamic law has to be passed by parliament,” Zahir told The Daily Star, adding that if any law was passed only to punish someone or some people, it would be considered a bad law.
The prime minister in her speech also mentioned qiyas. According to Wikipedia, qiyas is the process of deductive analogy in which the teachings of the Hadith are compared and contrasted with those of the Quran, in order to apply a known injunction to a new circumstance and create a new injunction. Here the ruling of the Sunnah and the Quran may be used as a means to solve or provide a response to a new problem that may arise.
At the ALCWC meet, Hasina said, in an indirect reference to the opposition, “They have plotted various conspiracies in their last-ditch effort to hinder the war crimes trials, and attacks on police across the country were parts of that plan.
“So I call upon all, also the opposition leader, to refrain from trying to hinder the trials.”
The prime minister observed the war crimes trial was the demand of the nation, especially the youths, and it must be held.
Referring to the international crimes tribunals, she claimed that the tribunals were functioning transparently and there was hardly any instance in the world where so many opportunities had been given to the accused.
She said the main opposition BNP enforced hartal on the day the verdict of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman killing case was announced. The verdict was delivered during the last Awami League-led government's tenure, 1996-2001.
“This time, I also want to say that these trials [war crimes trials] must also be held and none can prevent them,” she said.
She said the nation was of warriors and they would never bow down to the defeated forces (Jamaat-Shibir).
At the meeting yesterday, a coordination committee was formed for holding a grand alliance rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital on December 16, Victory Day. Awami League leader Muhammad Nasim was made the convener of the committee.
The Awami League chief also instructed party workers to prepare for the month-long celebrations in December.
On the attack on minorities in Ramu of Cox's Bazar on September 29-30, the prime minister said it had been staged to destroy the country's communal harmony and people knew that very well.
“This incident was unexpected…it was done in a planned way to create anarchy in the country. But fortunately, we managed to prevent it.”
She criticised the opposition leader for visiting China and India before visiting Ramu, where she “only presented the victims with a speech of allegations against the government and nothing else”.
The meeting yesterday also fixed December 29 for holding the party's national council in Dhaka.

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