Inter-ministerial meet ends inconclusively
An inter-ministerial meeting on trial of war criminals was held yesterday nearly two months after the House adopted a unanimous resolution for immediate trial of war criminals.
The meeting ended inconclusively but it discussed the formation of tribunal to try war criminals, appointment of prosecutor and investigation agency to probe into war crimes committed in 1971.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun chaired the meeting while State Minister for Home Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj attended it at the home ministry.
State Minister for Liberation War ABM Tajul Islam and law secretary were supposed to attend the meeting but they did not turn up, meeting sources said.
“The meeting also discussed which ministry to lead the entire process but no decision was made,” a home ministry official present at the meeting told The Daily Star.
Additional Attorney General Enayetur Rahim emerging from the meeting said decisions on the issue would be made immediately saying that another meeting would be called soon.
The resolution passed in the House on January 29 reads: “Measures would be taken immediately to try war criminals.”
Taking part in the discussion on the motion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the House that her government was gathering experts' opinions on the issue from across the globe. The foreign ministry is working on the matter.
There was, however, no representation from the foreign ministry at the inter-ministerial meeting.
After the meeting, Sohel Taj said they had taken the issue very seriously since the issue is one of the major poll pledges.
“We held the meeting for the first time as we want to start the trial as soon as possible,” he told reporters, adding that they were looking for the ways to ensure speedy trial of war criminals.
"The government has decided to hold the trial under the International Crime (Tribunal) Act of 1973," Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, who was not present at the meeting, later told reporters at the secretariat in the afternoon.
He said the tribunal would have two to four members as per the act for quick disposal of cases. He, however, did not say the number of tribunals to be formed but claimed the process to bring the accused under trial had already begun.
He said the process was delayed due to the BDR mutiny.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun, secretaries of the home ministry and liberation war ministry, additional attorney general, inspector general of police (IGP), joint secretary (political) of home ministry, director of national security intelligence (NSI) were, among others, present at the meeting.