15 War crime accused include Ghulam Azam, Motiur Rahaman Nizami, Delwar Hossain Saydee, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Molla, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and Maulana Abul Kalam
The field-level administration and magistrates are confused about the criminal cases filed in connection with offences committed during the Liberation War as the government recently decided in principle to transfer the cases to the International Crimes Tribunal.
No Gazette notification or official order was issued regarding the decision taken at a meeting of the home and law ministries on 20 July 2010.
The police headquarters only informally asked the police administration concerned to forward the cases to the tribunal or the home ministry.
“There has been a tribunal and an especial agency to investigate war crimes, hence our hesitation in doing anything about the cases,” a superintendent of police told daily sun.
The lower judiciary also became confused about its role regarding war crime cases after the tribunal was formed on 25 March for the trial of 1971 war crimes.
“I am hesitant to pass any order regarding the war crime cases since a tribunal has been formed to deal with these offences,” a judicial magistrate said on condition of anonymity.
On 22 July, senior Magistrate Taibul Hassan of Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court directed the court police to send a case against nine persons, including top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, to the tribunal.
He passed the order following a petition of investigation officer Mohammad Asaduzzaman, who said the case can now be tried under the tribunal.
However, the tribunal on 20 September said it received no case from any lower court and that the defence lawyers appealed for sending back records of the cases filed with Pallabi and Keraniganj police stations to the Dhaka CMM Court.
Counsels of the accused Jamaat leaders argued that the cases were transferred to the tribunal against the law.
The tribunal rejected the application, saying it had not received any documents related to the cases.
Dr AK Azad Firoz Tipu, an expert on criminal case in Bagerhat, said the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 should be amended if cases filed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have to be brought under the tribunal. “This can also be done through a government gadget notification,” said AK Azad, who is the plaintiff of a number of war crimes related cases.
Some 65 cases accusing 553 people, including Jamaat’s central Nayeb-e-Ameer Maulana Yusuf, are pending in Bagerhat where over 200 people were killed during the Liberation War. Some of the accused have meanwhile got bail from the High Court.
Police stations in Satkhira have so far recorded 24 cases. Of the accused in these cases, 87 received bail from the HC while six are in jail. All the cases are now stalled as the local administration is awaiting directives from the high-ups.
Additional Superinten-dent of Police in Jamalpur Jaydeb Chowdhury said, “We have sent a list of nine cases to the police head-quarters, which said the tribunal will instruct us about how to deal with them.”
Many complainants of the cases have meanwhile expressed frustration over the government’s inaction.
“We wanted justice but now we see there has been no progress,” Azizur Rahman, a complainant, told the daily sun in Jamalpur.
A total of 271 war crime cases have so far been filed countrywide since the Awami League-led govern-ment assumed office with a pledge to try the war criminals.
According to police report, there are two cases filed in the area under Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, and one case each under Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Khulna Metro-politan Police and Sylhet Metropolitan Police.
Of the cases, 269 were filed in rural areas: 126 in Khulna range of police, 58 in Rajshahi range, 41 in Dhaka range, 26 in Chittagong range and 18 in Barisal range.
Magistrate courts conc-erned ordered transferring some cases to the tribunal as the allegations go under its purview. However, most cases are still pending with the police stations conc-erned as they do not have any proper plan of handling those.
Two cases are pending with Parbatipur and Biral police stations in Dinajpur. “We did not send the cases to the tribunal as we are awaiting directives from the government high-ups. The tribunal also did not want the cases from us,” Dinajpur SP Siddique Tanjilur Rahman said.
Sirajganj SP Delwar Hossain Sayedee told our correspondent that his office was asked to send the cases to the tribunal.
“After receiving govern-ment directives we sent a letter to the tribunal for necessary instructions to this effect. But the tribunal office has not said anything yet.”
The accused got bail from the High Court in one case in Tangail while the HC issued a stay order in one case in Meherpur.
A total of 22 cases are pending with the police stations in Rajshahi. “We are not advancing with these cases as a tribunal has been formed,” a police officer told the daily sun.
Two cases have been forwarded from the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Shariatpur to the tribunal. One accused has been arrested in connection with one of them.
Magistrates ordered inquiry into six court petitions filed in Sunamganj, but the police forwarded those to the tribunal without recording any case.
In the absence of any instructions from the headquarters, the police are yet to appoint any investigation officer for the four cases filed in Kishoreganj, said district Public Prosecutor advocate Shah Azizul Huq.
By Pulack Ghatack; Courtesy: Daily Sun