Organization for Peace & Justice Calls to Halt ICT Executions in Bangladesh and Save Democracy

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015 /CNW/ -- To the dismay of many in Bangladesh and the international community, the Bangladesh government appears to be set to execute another opposition party member.

Tomorrow, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh will hand down its decision in the appeal of Mr. Ali Ahsan Mujhid, Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami and former Minister of Social Welfare.  Bangladesh's highly controversial International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) sentenced Mr. Mujhid to death in July 2013. 

Previously, two other Jamaat leaders, Mr. Abdul Quader Mollah and Mr. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, were executed in similar fashion.  These executions occurred despite the repeated calls and diplomatic overtures to stay the executions from U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The ICT was created in 2010 to investigate and try alleged war crimes from the 1971 War of Independence.  While war crimes were allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict, the ICT has targeted those that form the political opposition, namely the Jamaat-e-Islami party.  Jamaat leaders have either been convicted, indicted or had warrants issued for their arrests. 

Additionally, the government has conducted a media crack-down to silence the voices of those opposing the ICT proceedings.

Toby M. Cadman, a legal expert in war crimes, human rights, and international law, is familiar with the controversy surrounding the ICT for over 4 years.  According to him the ICT "fails to meet the standards of international tribunals and is international in name only.  The ICT in Bangladesh is a national court conducting cases of the utmost importance with no experience or training in international criminal law."

Cadman added, "the ICT was intended to achieve national reconciliation, but the reality is the opposite.  If Mr. Mujhid is executed during Ramadan [which begins June 17] this will be a concerning national and religious precedent that may spur more street protests and worker strikes."

Many Members of Congress and human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Center for Transitional Justice have raised concern regarding the ICT's proceedings.  The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has previously declared the process a breach of international law, and has referred the matter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

 

SOURCE Organization for Peace & Justice

For further information: Mark Clack, MClack@cassidy.com, (202) 585-2455

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