Friday, August 13, 2010

Introduction to the Blog

I am a journalist living in Dhaka Bangladesh, working with as one of its senior editors responsible for the English language site. I also write some investigative and special reports for the site.

This blog will principally be about the International Crimes Tribunal set up by the Bangladesh government to prosecute those alleged to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and other international crimes during the Independence war of Bangladesh in 1971.

The Bangladesh government has made it clear that the Tribunal will only prosecute Bengalis who in 1971 collaborated with the Pakistan military. It will not prosecute members of the Pakistan military.

I am writing the blog to make it easier for people inside and outside of Bangladesh to keep track of developments in the Tribunal - and also to provide some independent analysis of the issues involved.

The three member Tribunal, an investigation agency, and a prosecution body were all established on 25 March 2010 to prosecute crimes under the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973.

Since then arrest warrants have been issued against four people - all them senior members of the political party Jamaat-e-Islami - and they are now all in detention. They are: Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, its Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid and senior assistant secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla (see post on first hearing)

In addition, a production warrant has been issued against Jamaat-e-Islami Nayeb-e-Ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee (see post on fourth hearing)

The Jamaat-e-Islami is an islamic political party which in 1971 sided with the Pakistan military. There have been extensive allegations that some members of the party, including those who were members of its student wing at the time (known then as the Islami Chhatra Shongho), committed serious crimes in 1971.

In subsequent posts, I will explain what has happened from the first Tribunal hearing that started last month.

I hope you will find this blog useful, and please do leave comments, queries, or information.

There are of course a number of websites that provide useful information about the 1971 war and the Tribunal (I will do a separate post on this later) - but I would like to recommend at the outset the media database of one website that does contain a pretty comprehensive selection of media articles in both Bangla and English on the Tribunal (and related issues). War Crimes Strategy Forum, Media database.

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