Completing the Circle: Accountability for the Crimes of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation
“Completing The Circle: Accountability for the Crimes of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation”, Criminal Law Forum, Vol. 21(2) June 2010, pp.191-311 (lead article).
121 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2012
Date Written: 2010
This paper was the first subtantive analysis of the legal issues surrounding prosecution of the atrocities in Bangladesh during its liberation war of 1971. At time of writing, it was 38 years after the terrible struggle for independence from Pakistan, and Bangladesh was preparing to hold domestic trials of persons long suspected of crimes against peace, genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes in armed conflict.
As the abstact describes, the legal basis for the proceedings was to be a remarkable law that was adopted in 1973, drafted with international assistance and marginally amended by the new Awami League government in 2009. This paper is the first international analysis of the 2009 legislation, and assesses the many complex legal issues and obstacles that lie in the way of this nascent process of accountability. International crimes of the utmost seriousness were committed in Bangladesh in 1971, and the way that these are handled is of legitimate concern to the international community. Accountability is finally coming out of the deep-freeze, and the international community needs to become engaged in assisting to make this a worthy process that can bring Bangladeshis the justice that is due to them, 35 years after they first started the effort. Completing the circle is a task that cannot be done by Bangladesh on its own.
Keywords: Bangladesh, International Crimes, War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, Constitution, Justice, Accountability, Victims, Reparation, Human Rights, Fair Trial, Due Process
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