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ICT seems to be a political tool

9 May 2011 by Administrator

Int’l standard not followed: Cadman

“Neither striving for nor opposing the independence should be considered as crime. Only those, who bear criminal responsibility of violations of international humanitarian law, should stand trial,”

International expert on war crimes issue Toby Cadman, now visiting Dhaka, has said all parties involved in the 1971 Liberation War, whether they are freedom fighters or pro-Pakistani elements, should face prosecution in case of committing crimes against international humanitarian law.

In a written statement released prior to his departure from Dhaka on Sunday, Cadman, former Head of the Prosecution Section for War Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, made the remarks responding to a number of critical comments against him at a roundtable discussion held in the city on March 3.

It is alleged that inflammatory comments were made against him at the function but he was not given any opportunity to respond to those,
Toby Cadman attended a round table discussion hosted by the Prothom Alo at the invitation of US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp but his presence was criticized without giving him scope to respond.

He said, although he was received ‘with the highest respect by the Bangladesh government’, he did not find any welcome from the Sectors Commanders’ Forum and trustees of the Liberation War Museum.

“Neither striving for nor opposing the independence should be considered as crime. Only those, who bear criminal responsibility of violations of international humanitarian law, should stand trial,” added Cadman.

He said, the Tribunal has the opportunity of showing the world a model of judicial process, but, as it currently stand, the court could be seen as nothing more than a tool of political retribution.

“To the date, the Tribunal has not abided by international standards of justice, he said.”

He said, the International Crime Tribunal (ICT), formed in Bangladesh to try the war criminals of 1971 liberation war, has not followed current internationally accepted standards of justice. “It is openly dismissive of the concerns raised by organizations such as International Center for Transitional Justice”,
A state which has signed up along-side other 144 countries to an internationally agreed standard of conduct is applying rules and procedures, which are fundamentally contradictory to those standards of human rights and justice.

“About seven weeks passed after Stephen J Rapp recommended some revisions of the crimes act and rules, which may fulfill only minimum level of international standard, but the government was not seen to take an initiative to implement the changes till now, he alleged.

“If the trial is preceded without recommended amendments to the rules and laws, it could set a terrible precedent all over the world,” Cadman said. Saying that human rights were being violated thoroughly for the present law and rules,
Cadman urged the other countries, who are supporters of democracy and human rights, to come forward to pressurizing the country to change the 1973 crimes law and 2010 rules.

?He also alleged that the process of interrogating the war crime suspects is not being maintained as per international standard and fundamental rights are being violated in that process.

?He also alleged that the war crime suspects ‘have been denied access to medical treatment requested for’.?Toby Cadman, an expert on international crimes law, said there is currently no right of interlocutory appeal or judicial review against any decision in the present International (Tribunal) Act. US Ambassador-at-Large Stephan Rapp too has raised this as one of his principal concerns.

?Regarding the definition of crimes, Cadman said there is a crucial debate and presently the definitions under the Act are outdated and in places clearly wrong. These are taken principally from the International Military Tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo. However, international law has advanced quite dramatically since that time, he pointed out.

About the death penalty, he said if the government values the respect of law and democracy, the government of Bangladesh should not allow this process to proceed any further until it has satisfied Ambassador Rapp and international bodies, who are trying to help them by providing technical and financial assistance.

If a tribunal is allowed to go ahead on the basis of the flaws outlined above, justice will not be done, nor will it be seen to be done, he said.

Further, and equally important, Bangladesh will miss an important opportunity to show the world how a model of democratic process and the rule of law can be served, Cadman added.

Posted in International
Tagged Bangladesh







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