12:00 AM, December 21, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 21, 2012

Skype Controversy

Govt wants 'to remove confusion'

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Staff Correspondent

The government has decided to counter allegations made by the BNP-Jamaat opposition in connection with the ongoing war crimes trial after the resignation of Justice Md Nizamul Huq.
The law ministry and the information ministry would hold a joint press conference at 11:00am on December 26, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday said, to dispel the confusion created by opposition leaders over the trial.
Amid controversy after leaks of alleged Skype conversation between Justice Nizamul and an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert, Ahmed Ziauddin, Nizamul stepped down as chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 on December 11.
Following his resignation, pro-opposition lawyers demanded that all the four trials being held at the tribunal-1 be held afresh. Defence counsels for former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam on Wednesday filed a petition seeking retrial of the case filed against their client on charges of crimes against humanity.
Different stakeholders, mainly leaders of the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been making “confusing statements” over the war crimes trial, Shafique told The Daily Star.
“We decided to arrange the press conference to assure people that the trial is being held maintaining transparency and fairness."
The decision was taken after a meeting of the law and information ministers at the former's office yesterday.
Bangla daily Amar Desh had published a series of reports on the Skype conversation.
On December 11, Shafique Ahmed said the resignation of Justice Nizamul would not hamper the court's proceedings and that as per the law, the other judges of the tribunal-1 would continue the war crimes trial.
Section 6 (6) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, reads, "A tribunal shall not merely by reason of any change in its membership or the absence of any member thereof from any sitting, be bound to recall and re-hear any witness who has already given any evidence and may act on the evidence already given or produced before it.”
On Wednesday, Abdur Razzaq, chief defence counsel for war crimes accused Jamaat leaders, told the tribunal-1 that they would file two more retrial petitions on behalf of Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee and Motiur Rahman Nizami.

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