Don't favour war crimes accused

Dipu Moni urges int'l community

Dhaka yesterday called upon the international community not to make any request in favour of the war crimes accused who are now under trial in the International Crimes Tribunal.

“Bangladesh wants nobody to make any request or recommendation for the persons who are accused of war crimes or who might be convicted in trial,” said Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, talking to media at her office yesterday.

Referring to a letter to President Zillur Rahman from his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul calling for “clemency” to the accused, the minister said it is not possible for her government to keep any request from any one for clemency to any war criminals.

The government has expressed this view to the Turkish envoy in Dhaka, she added.

The foreign minister mentioned Ankara had officially said it had no intention at all to interfere in any internal affair of Bangladesh.

And, the Turkish foreign ministry had told Bangladesh ambassador in Ankara that it was just a letter from the president of a friendly country to the president of another.

But Dipu Moni said it would not be possible for the government to take the matter lightly as the ongoing trial is “very important and highly sensitive” for Bangladesh.

The December 23 letter has created a stir in Bangladesh because, she said, the people have been waiting for last 40 years for the trial of those accused of crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War, 1971.

“It is the expectation of the people of Bangladesh that nobody should recommend in favour of the persons who have been accused or who might be convicted for war crimes.”

According to sources, the Turkish president in his one-page letter also requested Zillur Rahman not to give death sentence to Ghulam Azam and other Jamaat leaders who are behind bars on war crimes charges.

On this issue, the foreign minister noted different countries in the world, including Turkey, had awarded death sentences to war criminals.

Replying to a question whether a diplomatic tension has been created between the two countries, she said no.

On a recent visit of an NGO team from Turkey, Dipu Moni said Ankara had clearly stated that it was not any official delegation. The government was inquiring further into the matter.

The visit of a 14-member team of Turkish NGO Cansuyu Aid and Solidarity Association from December 20 to 24 hiding their identity and misusing “on-arrival visa” facilities and its inappropriate activities have reportedly made Dhaka unhappy.

Source: The Daily Star