Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the government would take an initiative to amend the relevant law again to try and punish Jamaat-e-Islami as an organisation for committing war crimes during the Liberation War.
The draft on the amendment would be sent to the cabinet as per the prime minister's instructions for its approval, the minister told reporters at his secretariat office after he was accorded a reception by the law ministry officials and employees upon taking the charge of the ministry.
The previous Awami League-led alliance government had taken a step to amend the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973 for holding the trial and punishing Jamaat as an organisation, but the process was not completed.
In May 2014, Anisul had said the amended Act was not enough to try and punish any political party for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
“There is no provision in the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973 [which was amended later] to try and punish any political party,” he had said on May 29, 2014, around 15 months after the law was amended.
Parliament in February 2013 had passed the amendment, but it did not have a provision for punishing an organisation, if found guilty.
After its passage, an investigation agency in August 2013 had launched a probe into the alleged war crimes by Jamaat-e-Islami. The agency handed over the probe report to the prosecution in March 2014.
The agency had recommended banning Jamaat and six other organisations associated with the party in 1971 as the investigators found their involvement in grievous crimes committed during the war.
After receiving the probe report and other documents, a seven-member prosecution team started preparing the formal charges and the work was at the final stage.
But the preparation for filing a case against Jamaat remained suspended since May 2014.
On January 1 this year, the investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal expressed disappointment as the trial of Jamaat did not begin around five years after the completion of the probe into its role in 1971.