Category Archives: 1971

The 1971 Genocide: War Crimes and Political Crimes

Jalal Alamgir and Bina D’Costa.

Published in the Economic and Political Weekly on 26 March.

A combination of factors has prevented those involved in the horrific genocide of 1971 in Bangladesh being brought to justice. Regional power politics, the economic considerations of Bangladesh immediately after its independence and continuing internal political strife have together held the process back.  Now, the return to power in Dhaka of the Awami League has led to a new attempt at conducting war trials of the protagonists – most of whom belong to the Jamaát-e-Islami. But the government has to grapple with time deadlines, differences between domestic and international law and other complexities as it tries to bring about delayed justice for the wrongs done four decades ago.  India and Pakistan also have important roles to play in helping the Bangladesh government in this endeavour.

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Losing the plot with Meherjaan

Asif Saleh.

Published in BDnews24 on 30 January 2010.

This piece calls for a nuanced debate, and not, censorship about the controversial film Meherjaan.

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Abusing the war crimes trial

Syeed Ahamed.

Published in the Independent on 10 October 2010.

This piece warns against the dangers of politicising the impending trial of those who committed crimes against humanity in 1971.

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Truth, not punishment

By Jalal Alamgir.

Published in the Forum on 7 June 2010.

This piece makes the case for justice, not vengeance.

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Trials and error

By Syeed Ahamed.

Published in BDnews24 on 5 June 2010.

This piece provides a brief history of the war crimes trial processes in the 1970s.

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The Curious Case of the 195 War Criminals

By Syeed Ahamed.

Published in the Forum on 3 May 2010.

This piece discusses the efforts to try the Pakistani army officers responsible for genocide in 1971.

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Bangladesh: a quest for justice

By Jalal Alamgir & Tazreena Sajjad.

Published in Open Democracy on 9 February 2010.

The search for accountability for the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971 needs international support.

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Justice, the General and His Soldier

Tazreena Sajjad

Published by the Forum on 7 December 2009.

This piece questions who will take command responsibility in Bangladesh’s war crimes trials.

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Justice Now

Tazreena Sajjad

Published by the Forum on 2 November 2009.

This piece outlines the lessons Bangladesh can draw from Cambodia in bringing war criminals to trail.

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1973 War Crimes Act: Getting it right

Naeem Mohaiemen and Jyoti Rahman

Published in the Daily Star on 10 July 2009.

THE Law Minister Shafiq Ahmed presented the International Crimes (Tribunals) (Amendment) Act 2009 in parliament this week, with the Speaker urging quick passage before the end of the current parliamentary session. The 2009 act presents some amendments to the original 1973 act to make it “contemporary” (jugupojogi), “fair and neutral,” and “globally acceptable.”

Newspaper reports suggest amendments have been made to: provision to try individuals and groups of individuals; provision for appeal; and English being the official language of the trial along with Bangla.

While we applaud the steps to amend the act, we are, nonetheless, concerned that the amendments were not rigorous enough. In a rush to pass the amendments, insufficient attention has been given to major developments in last three decades in international law, especially as per International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

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