Bangladesh taints war crimes process: rights body

Editors' Picks

  • Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter

    By Stefanie McIntyre HONG KONG (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has encouraged fans to be optimistic that the World Cup in Brazil will be a success, amid growing concerns over security and public unrest as workers scramble to finish stadiums on time. "It is my 10th World Cup... and I can tell you I have never seen a World Cup that everything is ready, completely ready before the kick-off," Blatter told reporters in Hong Kong on Thursday. "Football, with more than 300 million active …

  • Dietmar Hamann: Manchester United should consider Rafa Benitez to replace David Moyes

    Dietmar Hamann: Manchester United should consider Rafa Benitez to replace David Moyes

    Dietmar Hamann: Manchester United should consider Rafa Benitez to replace David Moyes

    Former Liverpool player Hamann suggests Rafa Benitez for Manchester United job …

  • Rumour: Manchester United chasing PSG striker Edinson Cavani

    Rumour: Manchester United chasing PSG striker Edinson Cavani

    Rumour: Manchester United chasing PSG striker Edinson Cavani

    Manchester United are chasing PSG striker Edinson Cavani to join them in the summer …

  • David Moyes’ fate was sealed in today’s managerial circus show

    David Moyes’ fate was sealed in today’s managerial circus show

    David Moyes’ fate was sealed in today’s managerial circus show

    In the modern world of result oriented football, David Moyes didn't get the time required to build a side at Manchester United. …

  • Uruguay not among world's elite, says coach

    Uruguay not among world's elite, says coach

    Uruguay not among world's elite, says coach

    By Malena Castaldi MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Copa America champions Uruguay are fifth in the FIFA rankings, finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup and in Luis Suarez have one of the world's deadliest strikers, but coach Oscar Washington Tabarez does not rate his side among the elite football nations. We in Uruguay are not among the powers, not even in the South American region, and I think that’s the reason we find the qualifiers so hard,” Tabarez said on Wednesday. Uruguay scraped into three of …

  • Roy Keane could return to Manchester United

    Roy Keane could return to Manchester United

    Roy Keane could return to Manchester United

    Roy Keane could return to Manchester United for a second time. …

New York, Feb 15 (IANS) Retroactive legislation that violates fair trial standards undermines the legitimacy of the work of Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), Human Rights Watch has said.

The amendments were offered to enable an appeals court to overturn a life sentence imposed on Abdul Qader Mollah and impose the death penalty.

Amid controversy over the conviction and sentencing of people accused of crimes during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan, Human Rights Watch also called on security forces to restrict their use of force and firearms only to situations in which it was absolutely necessary.

"Justice for victims of war crimes and other serious abuses during the 1971 war of liberation is essential," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"But a government supposedly guided by the rule of law cannot simply pass retroactive laws to overrule court decisions when it doesn't like them.

"The Bangladesh government should pause, take a deep breath, and repeal the proposed amendments, which make a mockery of the trial process."

The ICT was established to hold accountable those responsible for grave violations of international law during Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971.

Most of the accused in the war crimes cases are long-standing senior leaders of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islaami party which opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan.

On Jan 21, the ICT handed down its first judgment, against Abu Kalam Azad. He was tried in absentia, found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to hang.

In the second verdict, announced Feb 5, the ICT convicted Mollah, a leading member of Jamaat, on five out of six counts, including of murder and rape as crimes against humanity and war crimes, and sentenced him to life in prison. He was acquitted on one count of murder.

Government officials, members of the ruling Awami League party and segments of the public reacted with outrage that Mollah was not sentenced to death.

Large crowds assembled in the Shahbag area of Dhaka demanding the death penalty.

The government responded by proposing amendments to the ICT law, allowing the prosecution to appeal the sentence, and decreasing the time for an appeal to be completed.

On Feb 14, the draft amendment was offered in parliament and is expected to be approved Feb 17.

Until this verdict, the prosecution was only allowed to appeal if the accused was acquitted, and 90 days were allowed for appeals.

The amendments violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bangladesh is a state party.

Protesters have called for Jamaat and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, to be banned.

They also want further amendments of ICT law to prohibit presidential pardons for those convicted by the ICT, and to permit closure of Jamaat-related businesses and media outlets.

Reliable sources have told Human Rights Watch that some defence witnesses have decided not to appear in court, fearing reprisals.

Human Rights Watch is concerned that judges may be afraid to give any sentence other than the death penalty in other cases.

Most Popular Stories

  • 15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    Tech in Asia
    15 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

    Samsung is the world’s – and Asia’s – top smartphone maker. But there are a lot of rival phone-makers out there aiming to dethrone the likes of Samsung and Apple. That competition is especially strong ... …

  • Aam Aadmi Kejriwal is richer than ‘crorepati’ Modi

    Yahoo India

    Kejriwal declared movable and immovable assets worth Rs 2.14 crore belonging to him and his wife, while Narendra Modi has declared assets worth Rs 1.5 crore. …

  • Why I went in search of the erotica writer Mastram

    Grist Media

    A filmmaker remembers the heat and thrill this mysterious Hindi writer gave sexually curious boys in the 80s and 90s. But would he be able to find the man behind the heady pseudonym? …

  • Deepika's retro bun - only six steps away

    Deepika's retro bun - only six steps away

    IANS
    Deepika's retro bun - only six steps away

    New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Actress Deepika Padukone is a sure shot winner when it comes to fashion and beauty, and most women want to ape her style. Grab a comb, clips and serum to achieve her retro bun hairdo, says an expert. Navyata from Hindi fashion channel FOMO (Fashion on My Own) shares how to create a retro bun inspired by Deepika: * Start by brushing your hair to detangle it so that it is easier to style. If you have frizzy hair, apply a small amount of serum to detangle and …

  • Modi files nomination, says coming to Varanasi is like a child going to his mother

    Modi files nomination, says coming to Varanasi is like a child going to his mother

    Yahoo India
    Modi files nomination, says coming to Varanasi is like a child going to his mother

    Campaigning for the 2014 elections is at a fever pitch. Here we bring you the latest news from all over India as the battle of the ballot intensifies. …