Govts overlooked filing case under Int'l Crimes Act
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which probed an intellectual-murder case that dates back 10 years, made suggestions to the home ministry in 2001 that the government could file the case under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
No subsequent government, however, took the initiative to that end.
Prof Farida Banu, sister of martyred intellectual Giasuddin, filed the case with Ramna Police Station on September 24, 1997 against two al-Badr cadres--Chowdhury Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman--for killing her brother on December 14 in 1971.
The CID submitted the final report of the case in 2001 on grounds that it was filed under "wrong" section of law.
Giasuddin was a history department lecturer at Dhaka University.
The complainant now sees no hope of getting justice as the subsequent political governments and the present caretaker administration have turned a deaf ear to the CID observations.
"The state needs to file a case in order to try and punish the accused," Farida Banu told The Daily Star yesterday.
She said she tracked the development of the case till 2001. "After the BNP assumed power, I found no reason to follow up the case," she told this paper.
Asked whether she now plans to appeal to the present government to revive the issue, Farida said Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed's remarks about the war criminals encouraged her but the law adviser's comments about a recent similar case took no time to dampen her enthusiasm.
One Fazlur Rahman filed the sedition case with Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court against Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah and Md Abdul Hannan, former chairman of Islami Bank.
His case statement said the three accused acted against the liberation war and carried out massacres through al-Badr, al-Shams and Razakar forces in 1971, thus committing sedition.
The CID, after long investigation into Prof Farida's case, forwarded its report to the home ministry twice, in 1998 and 2002, with the observations that the government needs to file a case under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 to ensure punishment to the killers.
It mentioned that the case is not maintainable under the existing criminal laws. Subsequent governments, however, did not make any move to file a case under the act.
CID's senior ASP and investigation officer of the case Munshi Atiqur Rahman had done intensive investigations on the basis of the case papers.
He talked to the families of martyred teachers and students of Dhaka University and other educational institutions. The investigators also watched War Crimes File, a programme aired by British broadcaster Channel 4, in the hope of getting more leads on the case.
The CID eventually named 40 persons as witnesses and submitted final report of the case.
According to the case statement, al-Badr members Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman picked up Giasuddin Ahmed from Muhsin Hall premises, blindfolded him and whisked him in a microbus to an undisclosed location on December 14 in 1971. He never came back.
The plaintiff said she and her relatives had identified his decomposed body on January 5 in 1972.
They later came to know that Dhaka University teachers Dr Mohammad Mortaza, Dr Abul Khair, Prof Rashidul Hasan, Prof Anwar Pasha, Prof Sirajul Haq and some other teachers had been taken away in the same way.
Dr Mortoza's wife and Prof Sirajul's son could identify two of the abductors who were Chowdhury Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman.
Investigation officer Munshi Atiqur Rahman, who has recently retired from service, told The Daily Star yesterday that he sent in the file to the home ministry. "The file was later sent to the law ministry and I don't know what happened to it after that."
CID sources said they recommended the formation of a tribunal and investigation of the case under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 as late Sirajul Haque, who was appointed chief prosecutor in 1972 in the case against collaborators, observed that the case should be conducted under the act and that such a case would not be effective under the existing criminal laws.
The sources also said the home ministry sent the file to the law ministry for its opinion in January 2000. It, however, never came back as the Awami League government did not give much attention to the case in the remaining 18 months of its tenure.
Nothing about the CID file could be known from the home and law ministries.
Law Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein also told The Daily Star that he knows nothing about it.