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Dhaka Tribune

Discord mars war crimes prosecution

Update : 05 Mar 2014, 09:17 PM

The prosecution of the International Crimes Tribunal has been put in an uncomfortable situation as one member in a recent interview with a television channel made negative comments about the team.

The tribunal’s chief prosecutor yesterday forwarded a written complaint of Tureen Afroz to the law ministry drawing attention of the secretary, and recommending proper measures (reference: prose-13/2-12/669).

Prosecutor Tureen on March 3 appealed to the chief prosecutor for action against fellow prosecutor Mohammad Ali for his comments involving her and others.

The interview is now available on YouTube and also partly aired on a private television channel on March 1.

Tureen identified three points in her letter. She mentioned that Ali claimed that he had received instruction from the law ministry, which he termed “proper authority,” to take up and conduct the case against war crimes accused Motiur Rahman Nizami.

He also claimed that the case against Nizami was a weak one; and finally, he claimed himself to be a pure supporter of the ruling Awami League.

Furthermore, prosecutor Ali also alleged that there was a “leftist bloc” within the prosecution team which was disrupting the proper functioning of the office in conducting cases.

As a result, the prosecuting team is in poor shape.

One of the prosecutors criticised Ali saying that he had ridiculed the whole prosecution team by claiming himself a real “Awamileaguer.”

“From the very beginning of the tribunal, the whole team has been fighting against the propaganda where the opposite party claims that this team is politically motivated. And now he is admitting this publicly. It may harm the image of the team,” the prosecutor said seeking anonymity.

Sources said the ministry as the recruiting authority would take the next decision. They may form an investigation committee to find the facts. If they get any proof that Ali had tried to humiliate the trial, then he may be expelled.

Ali, in the interview, also criticised writer and columnist Shahriar Kabir for making comments on the trial process, though he is neither from the prosecution or the defence. 

Ali also alleged that Tureen did not have the required competence to be appointed as a prosecutor and that most of the prosecutors were unhappy about her unnecessary involvement in conducting the cases, says the letter.

Tureen said the allegations made by Ali were all baseless and ill-motivated. “Those are humiliating not only for me, but also for my other colleagues and to the Office of the Prosecutor as a whole.”

Taking to the Dhaka Tribune, she said: “I am shocked and astonished. I have submitted an application to the chief prosecutor to take ‘necessary action’ on this matter.”

When asked, prosecutor Ali said he had got a copy of the application but he declined to comment on the issue.

He, however, said his comments in the interview were correct.

The then law minister asked him to take the Nizami case and he conducted it.

He also said the ministry could coordinate the prosecution’s work as the chief prosecutor was physically weak and “cannot remember many things due to his old age.”

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