Ending Culture of Impunity



In order to bring an end to the culture of impunity, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has successfully finished holding the trials of the 15th August 1975 massacre, which saw the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and almost his entire family murdered in one of the worst political massacres of the last century.

The process was started back in 1996 when the infamous Indemnity Ordinance which gave immunity to the killers, was repealed in Parliament. The process saw its fruition when 5 of the convicted killers were handed in the early hours of January, 28 2010 after exhausting all judicial mechanisms.

Additionally, to live up to its historical and political pledges, the Sheikh Hasina Government set up the International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh) in 2009 to investigate and prosecute suspects for the genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 1971 by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

During the 2008 general election, the Awami League (AL) pledged to establish the tribunals in response to long-standing calls for trying war criminals. The first indictments were issued in 2010. So far, the Tribunal has tried and convicted 11 such criminals, who have been hanged verdicts or serving time in prison as per the verdicts.

All of the verdicts issued by the ICT were appealed and reviewed by the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, before they were executed. Many more such criminals are currently standing or waiting for standing trial. The initiative to try war criminals was first taken by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when his government enacted the Collaborators Act in 1972. However, following the 15th August massacre of Bangabandhu and his family, this law was repealed by the following regime and thousands of accused set free.

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