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Bangladesh stresses resonation of anti-genocide campaign

DHAKA, May 19, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh today stressed resonation of anti-genocide campaign through preventing racial exterminations, exposing their perpetrators to justice and taking steps to memorialise the holocausts across the globe as an international conference on 1971 Bangladesh Genocide is underway in the capital.

"We strongly believe that the messages of prevention, prosecution and memorialisation of genocides need to be resonated through all regions and continents of the world," foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali said inaugurating the conference.

He said as part of its foreign policy pursuits, Bangladesh would play its due role in the Asia Pacific context, and in the world stage in general to drive home the message of "never, never and never again" in relation to genocides and mass atrocity crimes.

The 5th International Conference on "Bangladesh Genocide and Justice" is being staged in Dhaka under the auspices of Liberation War Museum at its auditorium while the event drew jurists and rights activists of international repute from different parts of the world.

They included Judge Carlos Rozanski of Argentina, Professor Adam Jones of Canada, Professor Daniel Feierstein of Argentina, Dr Helen Jarvis of Cambodia, Chhay Visoth of Cambodia, Professor Alexander Hinton of USA, Trudy H Peterson of USA, Mina Watanabe of Japan, Ashis Nandy and and Antara Ghatak of India, Siegfried Otmar Wolf of Germany, Dr Katharina Hoffmann of Germany, Hafid Abbas of Indonesia.

He said the Bangladesh parliament on March 11, 2017 adopted a unanimous resolution to observe March 25 as the National Genocide Day.

He said, "Remembering the victims of genocide and the crimes committed in the past must contribute to our understanding of the present and guide our actions in the future. Acknowledging past genocides, addressing the consequences and fulfilling the rights of the victims are not only dignifying the victims, it also represents our willingness not to let these crimes be repeated."

Owing to the efforts made by the Liberation War Museum and others, the people of Bangladesh had never allowed the horrific crimes of 1971 to escape their collective memory, even in an environment of impunity, he added.

The foreign minister said in March, 2010 the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established the International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh (ICT-BD) to end the culture of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators, uphold the rule of law and bring justice to the victims and their families traumatized by their experiences.

The ICT-BD had been formed on the basis of the International Crimes Tribunals Act, 1973 which preceded the international tribunals in former Yugoslavia, Cambodia or Rwanda by decades. The two tribunals currently operating have been established in pursuance of the principle of complementarily recognised by the Rome Statute, he said.

The ICT Act, 1973 accommodates and adheres to relevant international standards to ensure due process and fairness of the trials and the rights of the defendants, Ali said, adding the Tribunals including the judges, prosecution and investigation teams are fully independent of the executive.

Going beyond the scope of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials or other international tribunals, the ICT Act, 1973 allows the verdicts of the tribunals to be appealed against at the apex court of the land (Supreme Court of Bangladesh), he said.