U.S. calls on Bangladesh to hold war crime trials in line with international standards
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Just one day after a war crime court handed a death sentence to a fugitive TV preacher for genocide during the 1971 liberation war, the United States on Wednesday called on Bangladesh to hold free and fair trials.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Washington supports justice for such crimes, adding, “However, we believe that any such trials must be free, fair and transparent, and in accordance with domestic standards and international standards Bangladesh has agreed to uphold through its ratification of international agreements.”
“The United States urges the government of Bangladesh to adhere to the due process standards that are part of its treaty obligations, and to fully respect the rule of law as it addresses atrocities committed during the liberation war,” Nuland said.
Bangladesh’s domestic body named International Crimes Tribunal on Monday ordered Maolana Abul Kalam Azad’s execution over charges of genocide and murder during Bangladesh’s war against Pakistan.
The opposition parties describe the execution and war crime cases as politically motivated acts as popular TV host Azad, 63, was formerly a key member of Bangladesh’s largest opposition Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami. Other than him, around 11 top opposition members have been suspected of war crimes. This includes nine from Jamaat and two more from Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
International rights groups also claimed to have found loopholes in the war crime laws – a charge the government denied and insisted that the trials are fair and meet international standards.