- London-Based Defence Team for Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin condemn farcical conviction in absentia by The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh
- Defence Team calls for internationally supervised inquiry into the conduct of the trial process
- Accuse the Government of staging a ‘political show trial’ aimed at helping the ruling party secure power in upcoming elections
- Expose deep flaws at heart of process, including compromised judges
- Call for halt of all trials and full international inquiry
- A Farce and a Mockery of Justice: Defence Team Responds to the recent decision of Bangladesh’s ‘International’ Crimes Tribunal
Today, Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal issued a verdict against Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin concerning his alleged role during the 1971 War of Independence.
Today Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin’s defence team reasserts that the Government of Bangladesh’s repeated statements that these trials exceed the standards of all other international tribunals has absolutely no basis.
The defence team believes the tribunal has been characterised by widespread judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. They continue to cite clear evidence of witness tampering, witness perjury, governmental interference and collusion. They also point to the manner in which human rights monitoring bodies such as Odhikar and Human Rights Watch have been targeted is indicative of the vindictive approach of the current Government.
Commenting, a representative of Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin said: ‘The Government of Bangladesh claims that the Tribunal has been established to bring an end to a culture of impunity, but it is the Government that continues to act with impunity. The only suitable response is an internationally supervised tribunal. If the Government is to be believed that the case against Mr. Mueen-Uddin is so compelling and the evidence so persuasive, then what could it possibly have to fear from international scrutiny.
‘It is important to note that the Government of Bangladesh has persistently declared that it intends to seek the extradition of Mr. Mueen-Uddin. However, it has failed to do so. It decided instead to try Mr. Mueen-Uddin in his absence without attempting to seek his extradition and without even attempting to contact his legal team. It has clearly demonstrated that it has no intention to follow norms of due process and instead seeks a sensationalist victory. Mr Mueen-Uddin has repeatedly stated that he has regularly returned to Bangladesh over the last forty years and has nothing to hide.’
Commenting Toby Cadman, the defendant’s Legal Counsel, said:
‘The trial process has been shown to be nothing short of a political show trial.
‘What is clear from a number of damning disclosures by the international community and the media is the overwhelming evidence that reveals serious judicial and prosecutorial misconduct and the collusion of the Government with members of the judiciary and prosecution.
‘I am not at all surprised by the verdict that has been passed today by an institution that has lost all credibility. We reject each and every charge leveled against Mr. Mueen-Uddin. This is coming from a body that has been accused of gross irregularity and misconduct by human rights groups, notable figures and institutions around the world.
‘The system in Bangladesh is so far below even the minimum standards of fairness that it does not deserve to be called a judicial process. It is not an international tribunal. There is nothing remotely international about its practice. There are also serious questions raised as to whether it constitutes a national judicial institution, as it sits outside of the law – seemingly in a black hole. It has become a travesty of justice that is writing a very dark chapter in Bangladesh’s short history.’
‘Mr. Mueen-Uddin has consistently maintained that he is prepared to stand trial and establish his innocence before a court of law that is fully independent and impartial. There is a wealth of authority to suggest that the trial conducted before the Tribunal constitutes a flagrant denial of justice. The Government of Bangladesh is once again requested to establish an internationally supervised process meeting international standards that is credible and affords accused persons a fair trial.’
Toby M. Cadman
London, 3 November 2013
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