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Bangladeshi ICT Act Challenged
Source: ittefaq.com
Source Date: Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Aug 23, 2010

A Writ petition was filed yesterday with the High Court challenging the legality of some provisions of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 under which the war crimes trial is being held.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami senior Assistant Secretaries General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Mollah, who are now detained, jointly filed the Writ petition seeking HC direction to suspend the proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal and the trial against them.

The HC bench comprising Justice MA Wahhab Miah and Justice Kazi Rezaul Haq fixed August 17 (today) for hearing on the petition. The petitioners challenged the Sections 3(1), 6(2), 6(8), 19(1), 19(3), 20(2) and 23 of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973 which have restricted the accused to challenge the formation, proceeding and order of the tribunal. These sections of the Act have violated the basic structure and supremacy of the Constitution, the petition said.

The petitioners also challenged the First Amendment to the Constitution that said the fundamental rights would not be applicable to the armed forces, defense forces, auxiliary forces and prisoners of war who were involved in war crimes.

In 1973, the Constitution (First Amendment) Act 1973 was passed inserting Sub-art (3) in Article 47 whereby any law providing for the detention and trial of war criminals was kept out of the purview of the provision of Part III relating to fundamental rights. The petition stated that the first amendment to the Constitution was done violating the fundamental rights of the people.

The petition further stated that according to the Section 3(1) of the Act during the war criminals trial the fundamental rights would not be applicable to the people who were involved in war crimes. This section violated the constitutional rights of the people which guaranteed them under the Constitution. The petition also stated that the appointment of the two High Court judges in the Tribunal under the Section 6(2) of the Act violated the Articles 147 (3), 99 and 94 of the Constitution. Their appointments also violated Sections 94 (3), 94, 99, 109 and 144 of the Constitution, the petition said.

The petition stated that as per the Section 20(2) of the Act, the Tribunal could award capital punishment to the accused, but it was not mentioned in the Act for which offence it would award this punishment. The Criminal Procedure of Code (CrPC) would not be applicable under the Section 23 of the Act, which is contradictory to the Constitution, the petition said. The petitioner also challenged the first case of the Tribunal under which it was issued arrest warrants against four top leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami for alleged crimes committed during the War of Liberation in 1971.

The four Jamaat leaders are: party Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujaheed and Senior Assistant Secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Mollah. Barrister Abdur Razzaq appeared for the petitioners.
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