January 23, 2010

Should Bangladesh Join The Rome Statute Of The ICC?

Unheard Voice posted a press release of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court urging Bangladesh to be the first South Asian signatory to International Criminal Court (ICC). The ratification only requires approval of the Cabinet, not the Parliament.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court has recently published another press release which says:

In May 2010, the ICC will hold its first Review Conference which will consider, among other things, amendments to the Statute including the adoption of a definition for the crime of aggression. Given the impact and repercussions that this meeting will have for the future of international justice, we urge your government to ratify the Rome Statute by 1 March, 2010, so as to ensure full participation as a State Party during the Conference.

Now the question is "how joining the ICC will benefit Bangladesh?" State Minister for Liberation War Affairs, AB Tajul Islam had indicated in April 2009 that Bangladesh may request the International Criminal Court to put on trial Pakistani forces for alleged war crimes.

We will take the matter to the International Criminal Court and seek the trial of the members of the Pakistani occupation forces who committed crimes against humanity during our liberation war. And we will request the world body to bring them to justice as many of them are guilty of war crimes.

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva wrote in The Daily Star:

To demonstrate the commitment to trial of war crimes, it is appropriate that Bangladesh ratifies the Statute of International Criminal Court of 1998 (Bangladesh signed it) and the ratification will show to the international community Bangladesh's firm resolve that war crimes must not and cannot escape unpunished.

The Bangladesh government has decided to try the home based war criminal under the existing laws of the country. However, their jurisdiction will not cover to prosecute the Pakistani war criminals. So its important to take measures so that they can be brought to justice too. As Barrister Rashid said:

Crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide are the gravest crimes in international law and are condemned by all UN members. The effective punishment is an important element in the prevention and recurrence of such odious crimes and for protection of the inherent dignity of human person.


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