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Edit Date:8/9/2010 12:00:00 AM





Bangladesh war crimes

It seems that one or two readers of my blog have illogically come to the conclusion that calling for the Bangladesh war crimes trials to be held under legislation that conforms with modern international standards means that I have no sympathy for the three million who were killed and 200,000 rape victims of the 1971 liberation war. On the contrary, I want the convictions and sentences of the perpetrators to be legally unchallengeable. The government of Bangladesh did not amend theInternational Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 in accordance with the advice given by the International Bar Association, reinforced by similar advice from Human Rights Watch last month. The letter from HRW commented:

While the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act may have been largely based on international standards at the time of its drafting, international criminal law has evolved significantly since, including with the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998 and its coming into force after ratification by 60 states in 2002. The Rome statute and the ICC's corresponding jurisprudence reflect international norms, which Bangladesh, as a signatory to the Rome statute, should follow”.

Nobody accuses the IBA or HRW of lacking sympathy with the victims of 1971, and I hope even at this late hour that Sheikh Hasina’s government will amend the 1973 Act in accordance with the advice given by internationally renowned experts, so that the outcome of the trials will be unimpeachable.


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