Bangladesh has punished and has finally found salvation having recently hanged Salauddin Qudaer Chowdhury (SQC) and Ali Ahsan Muhammad Muzahid Muzahid (AAMM) who were guilty of various international crimes, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. We, on behalf of the ICR Foundation, welcome this trial and the punishment that has been handed down to the perpetrators. Although, in recent years worldwide opposition against the death penalty sanctions have gathered pace, the Bangladesh Legal System preserves it as the highest form punishment for crimes such as these which deserve the treatment. And it goes without saying we respect the decisions of the Apex Court of the Judiciary system of Bangladesh.
The International Crimes Tribunal started its journey in the year 2010. Needless to say it carried tremendous emotional value and to the people of Bangladesh. The importance of this Tribunal is defined of course by history first of all but also because of the sense of responsibility the state felt, to provide the nation with the justice it deserves. These two element have been the real impetus and the driving force behind the Tribunal. Although the relevant laws for the Tribunal were passed in 1973, and were supposed to be implemented in the same year to absolve the crimes and atrocities that were committed during the Liberation War of 1971, all that was unceremoniously derailed, due to rapid, constant and at times unwanted changes in the political system of Bangladesh. As such it did not see the light of day until recently.
A majority of the population of Bangladesh, from the day the nation was conceived, wanted nothing more but justice for these alleged war criminals. The demand for justice intensified severely as time passed by. Now although in 1992, an open trial held in a people’s court found Golam Azam guilty of committing war crimes, it was done so initially under duress and due to constant public badgering, mainly from those hungry for justice since the then controlling regime in Bangladesh (namely B.N.P.), were not particularly inclined to proceed with war trials. Later on he was tried and tested by the International Crimes Tribunal and was served with life-imprisonment. He purged while serving his sentence. Apart from that the year 2013, saw one of the biggest, most popular mass uprising in the history of Bangladesh as thousands of people came together in the capital city of Dhaka Shahbag, all with only one agenda, that war criminal Abdul Quader Molla, be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law. People of all religions and castes congregated and demanded that in unison, in an event which saw out another significant phase in International crimes tribunal’s journey.
Inspired by this eagerness, driven by the people’s urgency and from its own sense of responsibility, the then present government initiated the trials and carried them out with utmost impartiality and efficiency. Although, this trial process was established to advocate cases related to international crimes, at its core it follows the national judicial system, the criminal justice and its process. We at the ICR Foundation have followed this trial process with keen interest from its conception, and have reviewed it from every possible vantage point and perspective. As such, we maintain the concrete belief, that this trial process is being conducted with candour and neutrality, staying within the boundaries dictated by the appropriate laws.
We think it’s fair to say that Bangladesh today has seen another landmark victory for its legal system, by executing the impending death penalty sanctions of convicted war criminals, SQC & AAMM, turning another significant page in world history. The fact that a country so deeply trenched in wilderness for most part of its history, has managed take such a significant step toward law and proper jurisdiction, sets an example for others to follow. Especially given the extraordinary circumstances under which the ICT has gone through and that’s not even counting all the years that have passed between the atrocities committed during the Liberation War of 1971, which left the country crippled, and to this day a nation waiting, learning and in continual development.
We, on behalf of the ICR Foundation, would like to congratulate the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. We would and also like to express our immense satisfaction on the Bangladesh Supreme Court and Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for their commitment and unprejudiced support. Not to mention the courage they displayed to stand firmly for justice, even in the face of scrutiny and constant threats from terrorism and the like.
As a unit we work tirelessly in the field of international crimes, in an effort first to understand the importance of law and order worldwide. Secondly, we wish to promote the way the Tribunal has performed in Bangladesh so far, as a role model to the rest of the world. In fact we have already taken the liberty and on behalf of our organisation, have presented the model of International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh’s judicial system, to various different developing nations, who are either contemplating or are seeking justice the same way Bangladesh did and does.
We hope that the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal will continue to excel and flourish. We also pray that it continues to dispense justice with such impartiality and proficiency.
International Crimes Research Foundation
21st November 2015