The Trial of War criminals in Bangladesh
বাংলাদেশে যুদ্ধপরাধীদের বিচার
A war crime is an abominable (ঘৃণ্য) crime against humanity (মানবতা). It is a really sensitive issue in the perspective of Bangladesh because the peace-loving people of our country fell victim to a predetermined homicide by the Pakistani occupation forces during the liberation war. Unfortunately and unexpectedly those beasts were assisted by some black sheep of this land. They hurled themselves upon their own brothers and sisters, helpless people of our country.
The Pakistani army with the help of some of our own people created a reign of terror across East Pakistan. They unleashed their homicidal tendencies and made havoc (ব্যাপক ধ্বংশ) on everything people, houses, schools, colleges, villages, towns, mosques and temples. Nothing or none got rid of their barbaric destruction. The roads of our country were cluttered with the dead bodies of our mass and vultures and hawks feasted on them.
Millions of people (30 lac) lost their lives. About 2 lac women lost their chastity. Moreover, millions of people were ousted and took shelter in the neighbouring country, India. That these Pakistani beasts were aided by our own people called Razakars was a painful part of our history. They are criminals who were involved in the hateful and blood-curdling massacre of humanity.
After a nine-month-long war of liberation, a new state named Bangladesh emerged in the world map. We have passed 41 years since our liberation but the war criminals have not yet been punished. The issue has recently come into the limelight as the present grand-alliance government has taken initiatives to bring war criminals to trial.
What is a war crime?:
The violation or breach (ভঙ্গ করা) of war laws by any nation, state or person is called a war crime. According to a book titled The Black Book of Communism: Crime, Terror and Repression, war crime means the activities such as:
- Violation of war laws.
- Establishment of slave-camp.
- Indiscriminate torture and killing
- Holocaust-terrible havoc of towns, cities and villages.
Organizations associated with war crimes:
Different anti-liberation forces actively worked during the war period. They were founded to help the occupation forces of Pakistan.
1. Peace Committee- This committee was formed on the 10th of April 1971. They assisted the Pakistan army in many ways.
2. Razakar group- This group was the main accomplice of the Pakistani army. They were 50,000 in number. They were very active in remote villages of then East Pakistan.
3. Al-Badar group- This group was formed in 1971 in Mymensingh. It was completely based on religious beliefs and ideals. The heartless killing of our intellectuals was the most barbaric and hateful act of this group. In brief, they were engaged in rooting out those who believed in Bengali nationalism.
Bangladesh perspective of war crimes:
The Pakistani occupation forces tried all their plans to eliminate the existence of the Bangalees. There was hardly any crime that they didn’t commit. The main five types of war crimes are:
1. On the 25th and 26th March 1971, the Pakistani government had an army expedition named “Operation Search Light” and indiscriminately killed about 50 thousand people. They indulged (প্রশ্রয় দেয়া) in a hair-raising holocaust of humanity and went down in the history as the incarnation of the devil. Millions of people (about 30 lac) lost their lives.
2. Plundering, rape, firing, massive destruction.
3. They wanted to make us intellectually bankrupt, so they killed our intellectuals, doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, students, social workers and so on.
4. Thousands of women were sexually tortured and killed.
5. Particularly, the Hindu community was targeted and inhumanly tortured.
Trial of war criminals in different countries:
The Nuremberg trials were held by the Allies after World War II against representatives of defeated Nazi Germany for plotting and carrying out invasions of other countries and other crimes, including the Holocaust.
International Military Tribunal for the Far East:
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trial or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was a military trial convened on April 29, 1946 to try leaders of the Empire of Japan for crimes against peace, conventional war crimes, and crimes against humanity leading up to and during the Second World War. It was modelled after the International Military Tribunal (IMT) formed several months earlier in Nuremberg, Germany to prosecute senior officials of Nazi Germany.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR; French: Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda; Kinyarwanda: Urukiko Mpanabyaha Mpuzamahanga Rwashyiriweho u Rwanda) was an international court established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 955 in order to judge people responsible for the Rwandan genocide and other serious violations of international law in Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between 1 January and 31 December 1994. The court eventually convicted 85 individuals at a cost of $1.3 billion.
The trial of war criminals in Bangladesh:
On the 6th December 1971, the Pakistani army gave in and we had a Pyrrhic victory. Approximately 93,000 soldiers surrendered to the Bangladesh-India Joint Commando.
Later Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation, declared that war criminals would be brought to trial. The first law titled ‘Bangladesh Collaborators’ (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972 was enacted with a view to putting war criminals on trial. The trial went a long way in its procedure. In brief, till October 1973, 2884 cases were settled. In its verdict, 19 were given capital punishment (death sentence) and the rest of the criminals were given life-long imprisonment.
But later Bangladesh had to retreat from its standing because of international pressure and motivation. OIC summit in 1974 and the recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan changed the scene. In the end. Bangladesh had to withdraw from the trial process for the sake of establishing peace and communal harmony and solidarity in South Asia.
Since then, many years have passed. But no political party of an independent country came forward to address the sensitive (4) issue. Recently, the Awami League government has taken some pragmatic steps to punish war criminals as a part of their election manifesto. The government has formed a tribunal on 25 July 2010 led by Justice Md. Nizamul Haque, under the jurisdiction of the International Crime (Tribunal) Act, 1973. Under the trial of the tribunal, four war criminals, including Abdul Kader Mollah, Md. Kamruzzaman, Salauddin Kader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid have been sentenced to death from 2013-to 2016. Besides, the trial of other war criminals is in the process.
The trial of war criminals is now the demand of time in Bangladesh. So, our government should be sincere enough to complete the trial process successfully and punish the criminals who rendered irreparable loss to our country. No one should play a double game with public sentiments. A fruitful outcome of the trial can be a reminder of the fact that no criminal can escape the inevitable destiny. So, all of us with grand success in the trial.