Liberation War Denial Crimes Act drafted | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 23, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:40 AM, March 23, 2016

Liberation War Denial Crimes Act drafted

5-year jail for denial of historically established facts

The Law Commission has drafted the Liberation War Denial Crimes Act, 2016 with a provision for five years' imprisonment as the highest punishment for denial of historically established facts and settled issues.

Any act of undermining, misinterpreting, distorting, disrespecting and running propaganda campaigns against the historical facts about the Liberation War would be deemed as offences under the proposed law, said commission sources.

Besides, making arguments or launching campaigns in support of criminal activities committed during the war or questioning the war crimes trial would be regarded as offences.

Currently, 22 countries have specific laws on such issues and also on genocides and crimes against humanity. Offenders have been brought to justice in those countries, added the sources.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Law Commission, led by its Chairman Justice ABM Khairul Haque, called on President Abdul Hamid at the Bangabhaban yesterday. 

The commission handed over its annual report of 2015 and also the draft of the law to the president, commission member M Shah Alam told this newspaper.

Copies of the draft have been sent to the law and liberation war affairs ministries, he added.

The commission earlier distributed the draft among around 70 resource persons, including some researchers and jurists, requesting them to give their opinions on the proposed law, a commission official told this correspondent on Friday on condition of anonymity.

The draft was prepared after soliciting opinions from researchers and jurists, he noted.

Several pro-liberation organisations and war crimes researchers had long been demanding the government enact the law. The demand was renewed following the controversial comments of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on the number of Liberation War martyrs.

Khaleda, also a former prime minister, at a programme in December last year said: “There are controversies over how many were martyred during the Liberation War.” Her party colleague Goyeswar Chandra Roy also made similar comments.

On January 28, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee submitted a 12-point demand to the government that included enactment of Liberation War Denial Crimes Act.

Talking to this newspaper on that day, Law Minister Anisul Huq said there should be a law against the denial of Liberation War related issues. “I have heard that the Law Commission has prepared a draft.”

The ministry will look into the matter once the draft is available to it, he added.

To prevent distortion of history, 14 European nations enacted Holocaust denial act under which denial of the genocide figure of World War-II is a punishable offence. Even the countries including Austria and Germany, which were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust, have banned Holocaust denial, experts said.

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