The state counsels are preparing to file by next week an appeal against the verdict of war crimes tribunal-2 sentencing Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison as parliament is ready to pass a bill to that effect today.
The attorney general's office will file the appeal with the Supreme Court seeking death penalty for Mollah for his crimes against humanity during the country's Liberation War in 1971, a source in the prosecution of the war crimes trial told this correspondent yesterday.
A certified copy of the verdict has already been collected, he said, but it may not be possible to file the appeal this week. "Our target is to file it by next week."
As per the proposed changes in the law, the government will have to file the appeal within 30 days from February 5, the day the tribunal delivered the verdict.
"The appeal will be filed very much within time," said Mohammad Ali, prosecutor at the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
According to the proposed provision of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973, the SC will dispose of the appeal within 60 days of its filing.
The government placed a bill in the House on Wednesday seeking amendments to the ICT Act to allow the state and complainants to appeal against any verdict of the war crimes tribunals.
The government has moved to bring the changes in view of the ongoing mass movement at Shahbagh in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
The existing provisions of the law do not allow the government to appeal against inadequate sentence in war crimes trial, and it allows appeal only in case of acquittal.
A person convicted by a war crimes tribunal, however, has the right to appeal against the conviction.
In defence of the proposed changes in the law, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed termed the existing provisions on appeal discriminatory.
Amid such a situation, parliament is scheduled to pass the bill today. The bill provides that the changes will have retrospective effect from July 14, 2009.