Trial of war criminals
BETTER late than never. Thirty-nine years after its independence, Bangladesh is going to bring to justice the anti-freedom groups and people that committed atrocities on the people of Bangladesh in collaboration with the then Pakistan army.
It is true that questions have been raised by some small groups about the need for trial of war criminals after so many years of independence. However, the vast majority of people want trial of the war criminals at the earliest.
Immediately after liberation things were in an awful state due to lack of experience of a national government, lack of training and capability of officers and staff of erstwhile provincial government of East Pakistan in handling an extremely tricky and intricate matter like arranging trial of war criminals.
The few officers and staff who were available were extremely occupied in reconstruction works relating to a war-ravaged economy, and in the rehabilitation of nearly ten million returnees from India. Thus, it was not possible for a nascent democratic government to handle a complex task like the trial of war criminals.
The present government of Bangladesh has started the trial. It has repeatedly declared its commitment to implement the programs and philosophy of the war of independence. It is not surprising at all if it faces strong hindrance created by the opposition. The trial of war criminals appeals strongly to our intelligence, emotion and rationalism. During the war of independence a large number of international communities supported our cause strongly. To them, we feel small because we have not done proper justice to the families of the shaheeds.
For the present government, this is a golden opportunity for dispensation of justice through successful trial of war criminals. Accusing the opposition of hatching conspiracy is not very helpful. The behaviour of the government should make them popular.
The present government appears to be proceeding properly with the trial of the war criminals. It is also trying to mobilise support, not only within the country but also of the international community. It has been successful to a fair extent so far.
In a recently held international seminar, attended by experts and eminent personalities from Europe, Asia and America, the following observations were made:
- Bangabhandhu was assassinated because no trial of war criminals was held;
- The trial must be transparent and free from politicisation;
- Secularism is the main key to development;
- Fundamentalism is increasing in Bangladesh. Citizens of Bangladesh should work together to stop it;
- The massacre of 1971 was genocide. To stop such killings (such as killings by Islamic terrorist organisations, grenade attack on Shiekh Hasina or the murder of Mr. Kibria etc) there must be trial of the war criminals. Otherwise, such killings will continue.
It is absolutely clear that this is the most opportune time for the government to complete the trial because never before had we seen the people of Bangladesh want a transparent and free from politicisation trial of war criminals with one voice.