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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 162
March 27, 2010

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2 'war criminals' get death in mock trial
Two imaginary war criminals were sentenced to death by a make-believe tribunal in a mock trial on Thursday, for carrying out, and aiding and abetting genocide during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The defendants were tried under the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, as the tribunal declared the act adequate for trying the war crimes of 1971, when an army from an imaginary country "Moonland" invaded Bangladesh. The condemned convicts were Ali Butchery, the chief of AL Badr, and Mr Karim, a commander of Razakar. The Department of Law at Dhaka University (DU) organised the mock trial in the Teacher Student Centre (TSC) Auditorium on the campus.The three-member tribunal was led by Justice AK Badrul Haque who pronounced the death sentences of Butchery and Karim. "No sentence other than death can and should be delivered to them for their crimes like mass killings and wholesale destruction," the justice said. -The Daily Star 26 March, 2010.

PM gets war trial process going
A long wait for justice is about to end as the government announces a formal start to the process of trying the war criminals, just before the nation's 40th Independence Day.

The government timed the landmark announcement with the Black Night of March 25 that evokes the painful memories of thousands of unarmed Bangalees slaughtered by the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved initiation of the trial of war criminals at her official residence Gono Bhaban, which will open a new chapter in the history of Bangladesh. It was confirmed by Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, who told The Daily Star that on completion of the official process a gazette notification would be issued. - The Daily Star, March 25, 2010.

Court rejects SQ Chy's bid to sue 7
A Dhaka court threw away an attempted murder case against immediate past president Iajuddin Ahmed, former chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, ex-army chief Moeen U Ahmed, and four others. The defendants were accused of attempting to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by "slow poisoning" in a sub-jail during the state of emergency under the immediate past caretaker government. Metropolitan Magistrate AKM Emdadul Haque dismissed the case just hours after BNP Standing Committee Member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury filed it. -The Daily Star, March 25, 2010.

ACC explains its view on freedom
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requested the law minister to consider its opinion before any decision is taken on the proposed amendments to the ACC Act. “We have apprised the law minister of our views and opinions regarding amendments to the ACC Act 2004. We requested the minister to discuss our views at the cabinet meeting while reviewing the amendments proposed by the government-formed committee,” ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman told The Daily Star. Ghulam Rahman along with two ACC commissioners-- Abul Hasan Manjur Masud and Habibur Rahman-- made the request at a meeting with Law Minister Shafique Ahmed at his office. -The Daily Star, March 24, 2010.

BTCL plagued with bribery, influence
Most of the BTCL customers have to pay an average of Tk 6,000 as bribe for telephone connection, revealed a report of Transparent International Bangladesh. Under its research report titled "Lack of good governance in government's telecom sector and the way forward" TIB also identified telecom ministry's interference in BTCL as one of the major hurdles. In the current nine-member board, BTCL has only three private sector representatives. TIB organised a roundtable on publication of its report at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka. Dipu Roy and Shadhon Kumar Das, fellows (research and policy) of TIB conducted the survey. - The Daily Star, March 24, 2010.

DCC asked to remove illegal billboards
The High Court directed Dhaka City Corporation to start immediate removal of all unauthorised hoardings in the capital. However, the order is not applicable to those rooftop hoardings that obtained HC stay orders against their removal in 2007. The court asked the inspector general of police, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner and officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station to provide all-out cooperation to DCC authorities during their removal of hoardings. The HC move came after Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a writ petition with the HC. - The Daily Star, March 23, 2010.

High-ups' perks set to rise
The government placed six bills in parliament seeking to increase salaries and allowances of the prime minister, ministers, the speaker and the deputy speaker, lawmakers and judges of the Supreme Court to keep those consistent with the pay hike of civil servants. Once passed, the hiked salaries would be effective from July 1, 2009, while the allowances would come into effect from July 1 this year. The lawmakers are the luckiest as the proposed legislation offers them much financial and other benefits including reintroduction of the system of importing duty-free vehicles with a new offer of Tk 40,000 per month for fuel, maintenance and driver. - The Daily Star, March 23, 2010.

HC rejects pleas for staying jetty removal notice
The High Court rejected petitions filed by five companies seeking stay order on a government notice issued for removing their jetties from river Shitalakkhya. The five companies--City Group of Industries, Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Limited, Kamal Vegetables, Akij Cement and Molla Salt Industries-- have set up seven jetties on the river. The HC, however, directed the government not to demolish the seven jetties for a month, as an appeal by the City Group against the eviction of jetties is pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. -The Daily Star, March 22, 2010.

2 Japan MPs arrive with peace call
Two visiting members of the Japanese parliament met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and urged her to fully implement the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. They submitted a petition signed by 35,757 people from 105 countries and 12 autonomous territories. The statement also has peace messages from 2754 people including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire. Naoto Sakaguchi and Mieko Tanaka, Democratic Party parliamentary members of Japan who arrived here on March 20, had an hour's talk with the premier at her office. - The Daily Star, March 22, 2010.

SC bucks up lower court
The Supreme Court issued a set of directives for the lower court judges to improve their performance and increase case-disposal rate. The directives include timely sitting of courts and proper record keeping. The apex court authorities issued the directives on February 24 this year, since the lower courts have been experiencing a backlog of about 15 lakh pending cases, an SC official said. He said the backlog of pending cases is growing every day causing sufferings to people seeking justice. Even though no significant change has been noticed after the issuance of the notice, the official hoped that a positive change would be effected in the lower judiciary's functions within a few months. - The Daily Star, March 21, 2010.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155; email: dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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