War Crimes Trial Speakers at an international seminar on "Human Rights: Perspective Bangladesh" on October 13 said that the war crimes trial being in Bangladesh falls short of the legal requirements of fair and neutral trial.
Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) organised the seminar at the Hotel Sonargaon in the capital Dhaka with its president Khandaker Mahbub Hossain in the chair.
The seminar was addressed, among others, by lawyer of International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) Steven Kay QC, head of prosecution of war crimes of Bosnia and Herzegovina Toby Cadman, former Attorney General of Bangladesh Fida M Kamal, Barrister AKM Nazrul Islam, SCBA secretary Barrister Badruddoza Badol.
International reputed lawyers MS Catherine Elise, Ilipoulos, former Attorney General for India Soli J Sorabjee gave full written opinion on the war crimes trial process, which, they felt, denied the accused of fundamental fights guaranteed by the Bangladesh Constitution.
They opined that International Crimes Tribunals Act as amended last year was in-contravention of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
They wrote that the exclusion of safeguard of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Evidence Act coupled with the power to act on hearsay and normally in admissible evidence and the prosecution for testimonial compulsion render any under the act unfair.
Adv Sobarjee said the retrospective criminal liability under the act was in clear controvention of article 35 of the Constitution and article 11(2) of Universal Declaration of Human rights.
Toby Cadman said that setting the International Crimes Tribunal Act under national law was a complicated process. For this, national law have to be amended first.
In holding trial in Bosnia, they had the resources coming from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hegy and lawyers as well as judges having experiences from there.
It would extremely difficult to hold crimes trial in Bangladesh without being backed by such resources.
The justices should not only be done. It should be see as being done