Ministry to intervene in tribunal crisis this week


Some prosecutors think that the situation cannot recover without rearranging the team

After almost 15 days, the law ministry may take steps this week to settle the disagreements within the prosecution team. In the meantime, the prosecutors, divided into two groups led by the chief prosecutor and the chief coordinator, are trying to protect their post and position by lobbying.

Some prosecutors think that the situation cannot recover without rearranging the team. Meanwhile, activists are concerned that things might go worse if the government cannot handle the matter properly.

Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday told the Dhaka Tribune: “I have been informed about everything, but took some time. I will sit with all of them this week and try to settle the issues.”

He, however, did not elaborate anything, saying: “Whatever I say now may go against me. So let us wait some more days.”

The prosecution team has been in an embarrassment for the last two weeks after Mohammad Ali, conducting lawyer in the case against Motiur Rahman Nizami, in a recent TV interview criticised the whole team and particularly attacked prosecutor Tureen Afroz.

The incident has brought the other issues to front which had remained subdued in the past.

Tureen on March 3 complained to Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipoo in writing. He then asked the law ministry on March 5 to take proper measures in this regard.

Last week, Ali was reluctant to allow Tureen taking part in the closing arguments in Nizami case, even though the chief prosecutor had mentioned the two names in a letter issued before rehearing of the arguments.

In the last two weeks, the chief coordinator-led prosecutors held several meetings at the prosecution office excluding some members to deal with the situation. Sources said they were trying to save their posts by any means. They are likely to raise some questions about the chief prosecutor.

These prosecutors have never dealt any case and alleged to have acted like political appointees and created unwanted situation at different times over the issues of media coverage and personal benefits.

Syed Rezaur Rahman, a member of the Awami League advisory council, is one of them. He was active when the tribunal started but lately he had been engaged with the case on August 21 grenade attack, of which he is the chief prosecutor.

He reportedly leads the group of some 11 prosecutors loyal to the chief coordinator, MK Rahman, also an additional attorney general. The coordinator is not regular at the prosecution office and for that, Rezaur leads the group in his absence.

Prosecutors Mir Iqbal Hossain and Altaf Hossain were replaced by Ali for “poor performance” in the trial against Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.

These prosecutors think that they are harassed by the others who are close to the chief prosecutor.

Meanwhile, some members of the team claimed that the division came forth just after MK Rahman was appointed as chief coordinator last year. Prosecutors who are inactive are grouping with him for their survival.

MK Rahman refutes the claim. “I did not come here for grouping, I have my particular responsibility.”

Tipoo recently termed his appointment made through a special circular in January last year “unacceptable.” As per the law, the post of the prosecution’s chief coordinator is illegal.

Senior prosecutor Rheshikesh Saha told the Dhaka Tribune that the chief prosecutor had been a wrong choice by government as he was not able to do any work due to his old age. So the team cannot work properly.

Shahriar Kabir, an activist for the trial of war criminals, said: “In this situation, if the government does not take a particular strategy to settle the situation, then they may create nuisance.

“Since the situation has been getting worse day by day, the government should not take more time to solve this. To try the war criminals, we need a potential team, not the one who quarrels for their posts only,” he said.

Source: Dhaka Tribune