Investigate Bangladesh for 'crimes against humanity'
An Islamist rights group has urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, to investigate the Bangladesh government for “crimes against humanity” in persecuting its political foes.
British lawyer Toby Cadman said he filed the request on behalf of the International Coalition for Freedoms of Rights.
Cadman has represented Jamaat-e-Islami in the past while the rights group was formed in Istanbul last year after a military coup removed Egypt's president Mohammed Morsi from office.
The organisation is closely associated with legal efforts to prosecute the coup leaders.
International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will decide whether to launch an investigation after studying the application.
Tejshree Thapa, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said yesterday the group is concerned about the potential for escalating violence in Bangladesh, especially after the January elections. But she said she believes government abuses haven't been systematic enough to rise to the level of "crimes against humanity."
In yesterday's filing, Cadman's office identified alleged instances of government forces shooting, detaining and torturing civilian protesters.
"Numbers are difficult to quantify due to the absence of credible investigations and the inability of the media and international nongovernmental organisations to properly document crimes," said the filing.
Requests for a response from Bangladesh's foreign ministry and Hasina's office went unanswered yesterday.