Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bill in Parliament any moment to try Jamaat for Bangladesh war crimes

Bill in Parliament any moment to try Jamaat for Bangladesh war crimes

Bangladesh is amending law to put Jamaat-e-Islami on trial for suspected war crimes, Law Minister Anisul Huq has said.

But the bill will be tabled in Parliament when the government wants, he told the House on Monday.

Jamaat came out strongly in support of a united and non-secular Pakistan in 1971.

The High Court in 2013 cancelled the party's registration with the Election Commission.

Law ministry officials say Jamaat can be outlawed if it is tried and convicted of war crimes.

But at present, the International Crimes Tribunal Act only allows trying individuals on war crimes charges.

Most of the war crimes convicts are from Jamaat.

Responding to a question, Minister Huq said: "The amendment draft of International Crimes Tribunal Act to outlaw the Jamaat and its fronts is with the Cabinet.

"The bill will be tabled in Parliament with Cabinet's approval whenever the government wants."

He later explained to that the government was amending the ICT Act to bring Jamaat to justice and that the draft was awaiting Cabinet approval.

The two international crimes tribunals earlier observed how Jamaat had substantially contributed to the formation of auxiliary forces during the Liberation War to help the Pakistan Army.

The tribunals dubbed it a 'criminal organisation' that played 'a foul role' during the war and helped commit genocide that was 'worse after World War II'.

But two top leaders of the party even served as ministers during a coalition government with the BNP.

Bangladesh Tarikat Federation had moved the court to cancel Jamaat's registration as its charter was in conflict with the Constitution.

Its MP Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary asked Minister Huq when the case would be resolved and if the government planned to outlaw Jamaat and its front organisations.

Huq said the case was pending with the Appellate Division. "The plaintiff (Tarikat) will have to file an application if they want to do anything quickly," he added.

The court finally scrapped Jamaat's registration on Aug 1, 2013 after a final hearing on the Tarikat petition.

Jamaat sought a stay order on the verdict from the chamber judge of the Appellate Division but that, too, was rejected.

The party came under the crimes tribunal's scanner soon after.

After months of investigation, the tribunal's investigating agency slapped seven charges of 'war crimes' against Jamaat last year.

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