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Formal charge against Jamaat likely in March

Tapos Kanti Das

The war crimes prosecution expects it would be able to submit formal charges to the International Crimes Tribunal, better known as war crimes tribunal, by March on the role of the Jamaat-e-Islami in committing crimes against humanity during the country’s war of independence in 1971.
‘We expect that we would get the investigation report on Jamaat’s 1971 role by February and would be able to submit formal charges against the party in March,’ Tureen Afroz, an assigned prosecutor to deal with the case against Jamaat, told New Age.
She said that they would get adequate declassified information from home and abroad and witnesses to prove the war crimes allegations against the party.
The prosecutor said that different documents including newspaper reports, research works, historical documents and books as well as witnesses are there to prove the case against Jamaat. ‘There might be witnesses from abroad in the case,’ she said.
War crimes investigator Matiur Rahman who has been investigating the case against Jamaat said he would not say any specific time to submit the report to the prosecution but said, ‘I shall submit the report soon… as soon as possible.’
Matiur began his probe against Jamaat on August 18, 2013.
Established by controversial spiritual leader Abul Ala Moududi in 1941, Jamaat was banned twice during the Pakistan regime, in 1959 and in 1964, for its communal role. Just after independence of Bangladesh, the party was banned in 1971 but it was allowed to resume politics during the regime of late president Ziaur Rahman.
The two International Crimes Tribunals set up to try 1971 war crimes suspects, through several verdicts focused on Jamaat’s anti-liberation and criminal role during the liberation war.
The ICT-1, in its judgement in which it jailed former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam for 90 years, had said, ‘….we are led to observe that Jamaat-e-Islami as a political party under the leadership of accused Prof Ghulam Azam intentionally functioned as a ‘criminal organisation’ especially during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.’
The ICT-2 in the judgement against condemned Jamaat leader Mahammad Kamaruzzaman observed, ‘Jamaat-e-Islami had played a substantial role in the formation of the Al-Badar, Razakar, Al-Shams and peace committees.’
‘The Jamaat had indulged in indiscriminate massacre of their political
opponents belonging to the Bangalee nation in the name of liquidating “miscreants” and “infiltrators” for which it had used Razakars and Al-Badar,’ it observed.
A total of eight former and incumbent leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and its erstwhile student wing, Islami Chattra Sangha, were convicted for war crimes and five top Jamaat leaders are now are facing trail in two ICTs.

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