The government will appoint an agency to investigate war crimes committed by local collaborators of the Pakistan army during the 1971 war of independence sometime next week, the state minister for home affairs said.
‘The investigating agency under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 will be appointed next week,’ Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj told New Age on Wednesday when he was asked about the progress in war crimes trial.
The law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister, Shafique Ahmed, after an inter-ministry meeting told the press on April 19 the agency would be set up in three days.
The appointment of prosecutors and formation of special tribunals to try the people, who had committed crimes against humanity and carried out the genocide during the war, would be completed in two weeks.
A week after the inter-ministry meeting, the state minister for home affairs could not give any specific date for the institution of the agency, which will be looked after by his ministry.
Asked for comments, the law minister on Wednesday said his ministry would begin the process for the appointment of prosecutors and formation of tribunals after the home ministry would set up the investigating agency.
At the inter-ministry meeting, the government also decided to amend, if necessary, the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 to try local collaborators of the Pakistan army for killing, raping, looting, setting fire and trying to exterminate the people of religious beliefs other than Islam.
Officials of the police, intelligence agencies and experts who conducted researches on war crimes may constitute the agency to investigate war crimes afresh, the state minister said.
On January 29, the parliament adopted a resolution seeking immediate prosecution of war criminals 38 years after the country’s independence.
During Bangladesh’s independence war against the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971, according to historians, three million people were killed, over 2,69,000 women were raped and tens of thousands of houses were set on fire by the Pakistani forces and their local collaborators.
Source: The Daily New Age, 16 April 2009