Saturday, December 10, 2011

Marked war criminals' trial by 'next Dec'

Trial of all identified war criminals will be completed by December next year, state minister for liberation war affairs Capt A B Tajul Islam has said.

"A special tribunal has been set up to hold the war crimes trial," he said on Saturday. "It is (up to) the tribunal when it will complete the trial but trial of marked war criminals will be completed by next December."

Tajul Islam was addressing the inaugural session of a 15-day Muktijuddher Bijoy Mela (Liberation War Victory Fair) at Outer Stadium and MA Aziz Stadium premises here. The event commemorates the 40th anniversary of victory over then West Pakistan on Dec 16, 1971.

Asked whether Jamaat-e-Islami linchpin Ghulam Azam will be arrested in December, Tajul said the investigation panel is tasked with arresting war criminals. "If they (investigation panel members) think he needs to be arrested, then he will be arrested. The government will not interfere in the matter."

Ghulam Azam is accused of having lobbied against the recognition of newborn Bangladesh by foreign countries.

An investigation team started probing allegations of war crimes against Ghulam Azam on Aug 23. A three-member panel had visited Brahmanbaria's 'old' and 'new' prison facilities, the mass grave beside Kurulia Bridge and the Pairtala killing ground, and recorded accounts of several witnesses.

Tajul said BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia sided with Jamaat-e-Islami to save war criminals and her two "corrupt sons" -- Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Coco.

"The trial of war criminals has long been a demand of the countrymen," he said. "Bangladeshis want to see war criminals in the execution dock."

He urged Awami League leaders to be united in presenting the spirit of Liberation War and its "real history" before the new generation.

Bijoy Mela parishad chairman and former mayor of the port city A B M Mohiuddin Chowdhury presided over the function.