(লেখাটি বিডিনিউজ টুয়েন্টিফোর ডটকমে প্রকাশিত, এটা আনএডিটেড ভার্সন)
হঠাৎ করেই সারাদেশ উত্তাল করে দিলেন আলী আহসান মুজাহিদ। জামায়াতে ইসলামীর সেক্রেটারি জেনারেল ১৯৭১ সালে তার দলের ভূমিকা নিয়ে সাংবাদিকদের চ্যালেঞ্জ জানিয়েছেন। বলেছেন, “আপনারাই খুঁজে বের করুন, মূল্যায়ন করুন।” পাশাপাশি সবচেয়ে বেশি ঝড় তুলেছে তার আরো কিছু কথা- “বাংলাদেশে কোনো যুদ্ধাপরাধী নেই। যারা ছিল তাদের ক্ষমা করে দেওয়া হয়েছে।” তাকে ডাহা মিথ্যেবাদী বলার চেয়ে কথাগুলো যৌক্তিকভাবে খন্ডানোর একটা প্রয়াস অবশ্যই নেওয়া যায়। তবে তার চেয়ে জরুরী হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছে সর্বসাধারণের একটি প্রশ্নের জবাব- যুদ্ধাপরাধী বা মুক্তিযুদ্ধের সময় পাকিস্তান সেনাবাহিনীর যারা দালালী করেছে, যারা বাঙালী মেরেছে, বুদ্ধিজীবিদের নৃশংসভাবে হত্যা করেছে, ধর্ষন-লুটপাটে যারা জড়িত, তাদের বিচার সম্ভব কিনা। উত্তর হচ্ছে অবশ্যই সম্ভব। কীভাবে সম্ভব এ নিয়েই আমাদের একটি পর্যালোচনা।
তার আগে কিছু বিষয় পরিষ্কার করে নেওয়া যায়। এখনও অনেকেই একটি ভুল ধারণা নিয়ে বিতর্ক তোলেন ও করেন। বলা হয়ে থাকে বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবর রহমান যুদ্ধাপরাধী দালাল ও রাজাকারদের ক্ষমা করে দিয়েছেন। কথাটা পুরো সত্যি নয়। ১৯৭৩ সালের ৩০ নভেম্বর থেকে কার্যকর সাধারণ মা ঘোষনার আওতায় প্রান্তিক পর্যায়ের দালাল ও রাজাকারদের ক্ষমা করা হয়েছে। হত্যা, লুটপাট, ধর্ষন এবং স্বাধীনতা বিরোধী ষড়যন্ত্রের সঙ্গে সরাসরি সম্পর্কিত এবং নেতৃস্থানীয় কোনো দালাল ও ঘাতককে এই ক্ষমা ঘোষণার আওতায় নেওয়া হয়নি। অধ্যাপক গোলাম আযম থেকে শুরু করে নুরুল আমিন, হামিদুল হক চৌধুরী, খান এ সবুর, মাহমুদ আলী, খাজা খয়েরুদ্দিন, রাজা ত্রিদিব রায়ের মতো নেতৃস্থানীয় স্বাধীনতাবিরোধীদের স্থাবর-অস্থাবর সম্পত্তি ক্রোক করে তাদের ফেরার ঘোষণা করা হয় (১০ ফেব্র“য়ারি, ১৯৭২, দৈনিক বাংলা)। ক্ষমার আওতায় পড়েননি রাজাকার ও আলবদর বাহিনীর কোনো নেতা। তালিকা দেখলে দেখা যাবে ঠিক কারা এসব নেতৃত্বে ছিলেন।
এবার আসা যাক দালালদের বিচারের প্রাথমিক পর্যায়ে। ১৯৭১ সালের ৩ ডিসেম্বর ভারতে প্রবাসী বাংলাদেশ সরকারের মন্ত্রীসভার একটি বৈঠক অনুষ্ঠিত হয়। সেখানে প্রথম ‘ট্রায়াল অব কোলাবরেটরস’ বা দালালদের বিচারের ধরণ নিয়ে প্রথম আলোচনা হয়। পরবর্তী বৈঠক বসে ১৩ ডিসেম্বর। দুটো বৈঠকের সারবেত্তা নিয়ে ১৫ ডিসেম্বর একটি গোপন নথি প্রকাশিত হয় এবং এর অনুলিপি প্রতিটি সচিবকে পাঠানো হয়। (লিংক-১) বৈঠকের সিদ্ধান্ত অনুযায়ী দালালদের বিচার করার জন্য বিচার বিভাগ গঠন করা হবে। সেখানে সিদ্ধান্ত নেওয়া হয় রেডিও এবং অন্যান্য সংবাদ মাধ্যমে ঘোষণা দিয়ে সব দালালদের গ্রেপ্তার করা হবে এবং তাদের বিচার করা হবে। এখন কাদের দালাল বলা হবে এবং ঠিক কী ধরণের অপরাধ দেশদ্রোহী এবং দালালী বলে চিহ্নিত করা হবে তা নিয়ে বিস্তারিত আলোচনা পরবর্তী বৈঠকে করা হবে বলে নির্ধারিত হয়। কিন্তু পরদিনই বাংলাদেশ স্বাধীন হয়ে যায়।
১৯৭২ সালের ১ জানুয়ারী অস্থায়ী রাষ্ট্রপতি সৈয়দ নজরুল ইসলাম তার মন্ত্রী পরিষদ নিয়ে এক বৈঠকে গনহত্যা তদন্ত কমিশন গঠনের সিদ্ধান্ত নেন। হাইকোর্টে কর্মরত কিংবা অবসরপ্রাপ্ত কোনো বিচারপতি বা সমপর্যায়ের কোনো মাননীত ব্যক্তির নেতৃত্বে কমিশন পাকবাহিনী ও তাদের দালালদের হাতে ক্ষতিগ্রস্থদের মৌখিক ও লিখিত সাক্ষাতকার নিয়ে তদন্ত রিপোর্ট প্রকাশ করবেন বলে ঘোষণা দেওয়া হয়।
২৪ জানুয়ারি ‘বাংলাদেশ দালাল আইন ১৯৭২’ নামে (লিংক-২) একটি অধ্যাদেশ জারি হয়। শেখ মুজিবর রহমান সারিত সেই অধ্যাদেশে যুদ্ধপরাধী এবং দালালের সংজ্ঞা দেওয়া হয়েছে এভাবে Ñ)কোনো ব্যক্তি যদি একক বা দলগতভাবে বা কোনো সংস্থার হয়ে প্রত্য বা পরোভাবে পাকিস্তান সেনাবাহিনীর গনহত্যা, লুটপাট, ধর্ষনে সহযোগিতা করে থাকে এবং স্বাধীন বাংলাদেশ বিরোধী কর্মকান্ডে এবং বাংলাদেশের বিপক্ষে যুদ্ধে জড়িত থাকে। কমপক্ষে ২ মাস থেকে সর্বোচ্চ মৃত্যুদন্ডের শাস্তির বিধান রাখা হয়েছিল এই আইনে। অনেক ফাঁকফোকড় ছিল এ আইনে, যার ৭ম ধারায় থানার ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তাকে সর্বময় কর্তৃত্ব দেওয়া হয়েছিল। ওসি যদি কারো বিরুদ্ধে অভিযোগ না আনেন তাহলে সেটা গ্রহন করা হবে না, অন্য কোনো আদালতে তার বিরুদ্ধে অভিযোগ করা যাবে না- এমন অনেক গলদে ভর্তি ছিল আইনটি।
সময়টায় ১১ হাজারেরও বেশি দালাল ও রাজাকার তাদের গ্রেপ্তার করার জন্য আবেদন জানায়, যাতে এই আইনের ফাক গলে বেরিয়ে যেতে পারে। ২৪ মার্চ নাগাদ ৭৩টি বিশেষ আদালত গঠন করা হয় দালালদের বিচারে। এপ্রিল থেকে শুরু হয় বিচার। সাধারণ মা ঘোষণার আগে ১৯৭৩ সালের ৩১ অক্টোবর পর্যন্ত ৩৭ হাজার ৪৭১জন অভিযুক্তের মধ্যে নিষ্পত্তি হয়েছিল ২ হাজার ৮৪৮ জনের মামলা। এদের মধ্যে বিভিন্ন মেয়াদে দন্ডাদেশ পেয়েছে ৭৫২ জন যার মধ্যে মৃত্যুদন্ডে দন্ডিত হয় ১ জন এবং বেকসুর খালাস পায় ২ হাজার ৯৬ জন। এই দালাল আইনটি পরে বাতিল হয়ে যায়।
তবে ১৯৭৩ সালের ২০ জুলাই আন্তর্জাতিক আইনে যুদ্ধপরাধীদের সাজা দেওয়ার জন্য নতুন একটি আইন পাস হয়। ‘অ্যাক্ট নং-১৯, ১৯৭৩’ (লিংক-৩) নামের এই আইনে গনহত্যা, মানবতার বিরুদ্ধে অপরাধ, যুদ্ধাপরাধে অপরাধীদের গ্রেপ্তার, বিচার এবং সাজা দেওয়ার অধিকার রাখা হয়। নব্বই দশকের শুরুতে শহীদ জননী জাহানারা ইমামের নেতৃত্বে ঘাতক-দালাল নির্মূল কমিটি এই আইনটিকেই অবলম্বন করে মাঠে নামে। এই আইনে বাদী হতে পারেন সরকার। এবং সাক্ষ্য হিসেবে ঘটনার সময়কার পেপারকাটিং থেকে শুরু করে ছবি এবং ফুটেজ পর্যন্ত প্রমাণ হিসেবে উত্থাপন করা যাবে। মাত্র দুমাসের মধ্যে বিশেষ এই ট্রাইবুনাল তাদের বিচার শেষ করতে পারবে। অর্থাৎ সরকার যদি বিচার করতে আন্তরিকভাবে আগ্রহী হয়, যুদ্ধাপরাধে অভিযুক্তদের গ্রেপ্তার করে, তারপর তাদের বিরুদ্ধে সাক্ষ্যপ্রমাণ নিয়ে এ দেশের লাখো শহীদের স্বজনরা আগ্রহভরেই হাজির হবেন। তাই দরকার সরকারের স্বদিচ্ছা। আইন আছে, স্বাক্ষী আছে, অপরাধী আছে। বিচার সম্ভব।
নিচে লিঙ্কগুলো দেয়া হলো :
Enclose please find extracts from the decisions of the Cabinet Meeting held on December 13, 1971 on the subject “Trial of collaborators” and “Screening of employees of Government, semi-Government and autonomous bodies”. This is for favour of information and necessary action.
U.O.NO...(9)/Cab. Dated 15.12.71
1. Acting Secretary-General
2. Secretary, Foreign Affairs
3. Secretary, Defence
4. Secretary, GA
5. Secretary, Home/ DG. , Police
6. Secretary, Home Affairs
7. Secretary, Finance
8. Secretary, Information and Broadcasting
9. Secretary, Agriculture
Extracts From the Minutes and Decisions of the Cabinet Meeting Held on December 3, 1971
AGENDA NO-2.......... Trial of Collaborators
The Cabinet considered the summary on the Subject “Trial of Collaborators” and after due deliberation decided as follows :
a) An announcement should be made forthwith to the effect that a machinery of justice is being established for the trial of collaborators and that pending trial all alleged collaborators should.
b) The recommendations contained in the summary on the subject “Trial of Collaborators” submitted by Secretaries’ committee, where accepted as noted below :
i) Tribunals will be formed for different categories of Collaborators
ii) An announcement should be made through radio and other media of communication that local authorities under the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh have been authorized to arrange immediate arrest and safe custody of collaborators pending trial
c) The subject “Trial of Collaborators” should be immediately examined in details by a committee of jurists and legal experts, who will advise the Government, particularly on the following matters.
i) Whether new law should be drafted to give legal form to the recommendations made to the Cabinet by the secretaries committee or this should be done within the framework of the existing law. If the law on the trial of collaborators is to be framed according to the existing law/laws under the provisions of the Proclamation of Independence Order dated April 10, 1971 and the laws Continuance Order dated April 10, 1971. Now should it be fitted therein.
ii) Whether the offence of collaboration should be given precise definition or it is covered sufficiently by the existing law dealing with such crimes as waging war against the State, sedition, murder, loot, arson etc.
iii) What should be the composition of tribunals and special courts?
iv) What category of Persons should be tried?
v) What other allied factors are to be considered and brought within the legal frame work?
d) The committee of Jurists and legal experts should be immediately constituted by the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary affairs and further necessary action should be taken by that ministry. If necessary, the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary affairs may ask for the services of legal experts from the Government of India.
Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972*
(*no.58. Pub : 24th January, 1972- The above order made by the president on the advise
of the Prime Minister of the People's Republic Of Bangladesh on the 24th January, 1972
is hereby published for general information)
No.8 of 1972
Whereas certain persons, individually or as members of organizations, directly or
indirectly, have been collaborators of the Pakistan Armed Forces, which had illegally
occupied Bangladesh by brute force and have aided or abetted the Pakistan Armed Forces
of occupation in committing genocide and crimes against humanity and in committing
atrocities against men, women and children and against the person, property and honor of
the civilian population of Bangladesh and have otherwise aided or co-operated with or
acted in the interest of Pakistan Armed Forces of occupation or contributed by any act,
word or sign towards maintaining, sustaining, strengthening, supporting or furthering the
illegal occupation of Bangladesh by the Pakistan Armed Forces or have waged war or
aided or abetted in waging war against People's Republic of Bangladesh.
And whereas such collaboration contributed towards the perpetration of a reign of terror
and the commission of crimes against humanity on a scale which has horrified the moral
consciences of the people of Bangladesh and of right thinking people throughout the
And whereas it is imperative that such persons should be dealt with effectively and be
adequately punished in accordance with the due process of law;
And whereas it is expedient to provide for the setting up of Special Tribunals for
expeditious and fair trial of the offences committed by such persons;
Now therefore, in pursuance of the proclamation of Independence of Bangladesh Order,
1972 in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President is pleased to
make the following Order :
1. 1) This Order may be called the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order,
2) It extends to the whole of Bangladesh.
3) It shall come into force at once and shall be deemed to have taken effect on the 26th
day of March,
In this Order, -
a) 'Code' means Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898)
b) 'Collaborator' means a person who has-
(i) Participated with or aided or abetted the occupation army in maintaining, sustaining,
strengthening, supporting or furthering the illegal occupation of Bangladesh by such
(ii) rendered material assistance in anyway whatsoever to the occupation army by any act,
whether by words, signs or conduct;
(iii) Waged war or abetted in waging war against the People's Republic Of Bangladesh;
(iv) Actively resisted or sabotaged the efforts of the people and the liberation forces of
Bangladesh in their liberation struggle against the occupation army;
(v) by a public statement or by voluntary participation in propaganda within or outside
Bangladesh on or by association in any delegation or committee or by participation in
purported by-elections attempted to aid or aided the occupation army in furthering its
design of perpetrating its forcible occupation in Bangladesh.
Explanation- a person who has performed in good faith functions which he was required
by any purported law in force at the material time to do shall not be deemed to be a
Provided that a person who has performed functions as direct object or result of which
was the killing of any member of the civil population or the liberation forces of
Bangladesh or the destruction of their property or the rape of or the criminal assault on
their womenfolk, even if done under purported law passed by the occupation army, shall
be deemed to be a collaborator.
c) "Government" means the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh:
d) "Liberation Forces" includes all forces of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
engaged in the liberation of Bangladesh;
e) "Occupation Army" means the Pakistan Armed Forces engaged in the occupation of
f) "Special Tribunal" means a Tribunal under this order.
3(1) Any Police Officer or any person empowered by the Government in that behalf may,
without a warrant, arrest any person who may reasonably be suspected of having been a
(2) Any Police Officer on any person making an arrest under clause (1) shall forthwith
report such arrest
to the Government together with a pr�cis of the information or materials on the basis of
which the arrest has been made, and, pending receipt of the order of the Government,
may, by order in writing, commit any person so arrested to such custody as the
Government may by general or special order specify.
(3) On receipt of a report under clause (2), the Government may by order in writing,
direct such person to be detained for an initial period of six months for the purpose of
inquiry into the case.
(4) The Government may extend the period of detention if, in the opinion of the
Government, further time is required for completion of the inquiry.
(5) Any person arrested or detained before the commencement of this Order who is
alleged to be a collaborator, shall be deemed to be arrested and detained under this Order
and an order in writing authorizing such detention shall be made by the Government:
Provided that the initial period of detention of six months in the case of such person shall
be computed from the date of this arrest.
4. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code or in any other law for the time being
in force, any collaborator who has committed any offence specified in the Schedule shall
be tried and punished by a Special Tribunal set up under this Order and no other Court shall have any jurisdiction to take cognizance of any such offence.
5. (1) The Government may set up as many Special Tribunals as it may deem necessary
to try and punish offences under this Order for each district or for such area as may be
determined by it.
(2) A Special Tribunal shall consist of one member.
(3) No person shall be qualified to be appointed a member of a Special Tribunal unless he
is or has been a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge or an Assistant Sessions
6. (1) A Special Tribunal consisting of a Sessions Judge or an Additional Session Judge
shall try and punish offences enumerated in parts I and II of the Schedule.
(2) A Special Tribunal consisting of a Sessions Judge or an Additional Session Judge
shall try and punish offences enumerated in parts III and IV of the Schedule.
7. A Special Tribunal shall not take cognizance of any offence punishable under this
Order except upon a report in writing by an officer-in-charge of a police station.
8. (1) the provisions of the Code insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions
of this Order, shall apply to all matters connected with, arising from or consequent upon a
trial by a Special Tribunal.
9. (1) A Special Tribunal shall not be bound to adjourn a trial for any purpose unless such
an adjournment is, in its opinion, necessary in the interests of justice.
(2) No trial shall be adjourned by reason of the absence of any accused person if such
is represented by counsel, or if the absence of the accused person or his counsel has been
brought about by the accused person himself, and the Special Tribunal shall proceed with
the trial after taking necessary steps to appoint as advocate to defend an accused person
who is not represented by counsel.
10. A Special Tribunal may, with a view to obtaining the evidence of any person
supposed to have been directly or indirectly concerned in, or privy to the offence, tender
a pardon to such person on condition of his making a full and true disclosure of the whole
circumstances within his knowledge relative to the offence and to every other person
concerned, whether as principal or abettor, in the commission thereof and any pardon so
tendered shall, for the purpose of section 339 and 339A of the Code, be deemed to have
been tendered under section 338 of the Code.
11. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, (
a) any collaborator who is convicted for any of the offences specified in part I of the
Schedule shall be punished with the death or transportation for life and shall also be
liable to a fine;
(b) any collaborator who is convicted for any of the offences specified in part II of the
Schedule shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten
years and shall also be liable to a fine;
(c) any collaborator who is convicted for any of the offences specified in part III of the
Schedule shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding five
years and shall also be liable to a fine;
(d) any collaborator who is convicted for any of the offences specified in part IV of the
Schedule shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding two
years and shall also be liable to a fine;
12. Without prejudice to any sentence passed by Special Tribunal, the property
immovable, movable, or any portion thereof, of a collaborator may, on his conviction, be
forfeited to the Government, upon an order in writing made in this behalf by the
13. If any accused in convicted of and sentenced for more then one offence, the sentences
of imprisonment shall run concurrently or consecutively, as determined by the Special
14. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code no person who is in custody,
accused or convicted of any offence punishable under this order shall be released on bail.
15. The provisions of Chapter XXVII of the Code shall apply to a sentence of death
passed by a Special Tribunal.
16. (1) A person convicted of any offence by a Special Tribunal may appeal to the High
(2) The Government may direct a Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High
Court from an order of acquittal passed by a Special Tribunal, upon intimation to the
Special Tribunal by the Public Prosecutor that such an appeal is being filed, the person in
respect of whom the order of acquittal was passed shall continue to remain in custody.
(3) The period of limitation for an appeal under clause (1) shall be 30 days from the date
of sentence and for an appeal under clause (2) shall be 30 days from the date of the order
(4) The appeal may lie on matters of fact as well as law.
17. (1) If the Government has reasons to believe that a person, who, in the opinion of the
Government, is required for the purpose of any investigation, enquiry or other
proceedings connected with an offence punishable under this Order, is absconding or is
otherwise concealing himself or remaining abroad to avoid appearance, the Government,
may, by a written proclamation published in the official Gazette or in such other manner
as may be considered suitable to make it widely known:
(a) direct the person named in the proclaimed to appear at a specified place at a specific
(b) direct attachment of any property, moveable and immoveable or both, belonging to
the proclaimed person.
Explanation-"Property belonging to the proclaimed person shall include property,
movable and immovable, standing in the name of his wife, children, parents, minor
brothers, sisters or dependents or any demander."
(2) If the property ordered to be attached is a debt or other movable property the
attachment shall be made,-
(a) by seizure; or
(b) by the appointment of an administrator; or
(c) by an order in writing prohibiting the delivery or such property to the proclaimed
person or to anyone on his behalf; or
(d) by all or any two of the methods mentioned in sub-clauses(a), (b) and (c) as the
Government may direct.
(3) If the property ordered to be attached is immovable, the attachment shall be made in
the case of land paying revenue to Government, by the Deputy Commissioner of the
district in which the land is situate, and in all other case,-
(a) by taking possession of the property;
(b) by the appointment of an administrator; or
(c) by an order in writing prohibiting the payment of rent or delivery of the property to
the proclaimed person or to anyone on his behalf; or
(d) by all or any two of this methods mentioned in sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c) as the
government may direct.
(4) If the property ordered to be attached consists of livestock or is of a perishable nature,
the Government may, if it thinks if expedient, order immediate sale thereof, and in such
case the sale shall abide by the order of the Government.
(5) The powers, duties and liabilities of an administrator appointed under this Article
shall be the same as those of a receiver appointed under Chapter XXXVI of the Code of
Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908).
(6) If any claim is preferred to, or objection made to the attachment of, any property
attached under this Article, within seven days from the date of such attachment, by any
person other than the proclaimed person, on the ground that the claimant or objector has
an interest in such property, and that such interest is not liable to attachment under this
Article, the claim or objection shall be inquired into, and may be allowed or disallowed in
whole or in part:
Provided that any claim preferred or objection made within the period allowed by this
clause may, in the event of the death of the claimant or objector, be continued by his legal
(7) Acclaim or an objection under clause (6) may be preferred or made before such
person or authority as is appointed by the Government.
( Any person whose claim or objecting has been disallowed in whole or in part by an
order under clause (6) may, within a period of one month from the date of such order,
appeal against such order to an appellate authority, constituted by the Government, for
such purpose, but subject to the order of such appellate authority, the order shall be
(9) If the proclaimed person appears within the time specified in the proclamation, the
Government may make an order releasing the property from the attachment.
(10) If the proclaimed person does not appear within the time specified in the
proclamation, the Government may pass an order forfeiting to the Government the
property under attachment.
(11) When any property has been forfeited to the Government under clause (10), it may
be disposed of in such manner as the Government directs.
18. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Code or of any other law for the time being in
force, no action or proceeding taken or purporting to be taken under this Order shall be
called in question by any Court, and there shall be no appeal from any order or sentence
of a Special Tribunal save as provided in section 16.
Offences under sections 121, 121-A, 302, 304, 307, 376, 396 of the Penal Code and
attempts to commit or the abetment of the commission of any of such offences.
Offences under sections 308, 325, 326, 328, 329, 330, 331, 333, 354, 363, 364, 365, 367,
368, 369, 380, 382, 386, 388, 389, 392, 393, 394, 395, 397, 435, 436, 437, 438, 449 and
450 of the Penal Code and attempts to commit or the abetment of the commission of any
Offences under sections 324, 332, 338, 343, 346, 348, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431 and 440 of
the penal code and attempts to commit or the abetment of the commission of any of the
(a) Offences under sections 336, 337, 341, 342, 352, 357, 374, 426, 447 and 448 of the
penal code and attempts to commit or the abetment of the commission of any of the
(b) Any act which is mentioned is clause (b) of Article 2 of this order but which is not
covered by any of the parts in this schedule.
Note : This law is repealed now. not effective anymore
ACT NO XIX OF 1973*
An Act to provide for the detention, prosecution and punishment of persons for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law
(Published in the Bangladesh Gazette, Extra., on July 20, 1973)
Whereas It is expedient to provide for the detention, prosecution and punishment of persons for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law and for matters connected therewith;
It is hereby enacted as follows :-
1. Short title, extent and commencement.
(1) This Act may be called the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
(2) It extends to the whole of Bangladesh.
(3) It shall come into force at once.
In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.-
(a) 'auxiliary forces' includes forces placed under the control of the Armed Forces for operational, administrative, static and other purposes;
(b) 'Government' means the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh;
(c) 'Republic' means the People's Republic of Bangladesh;
(d) 'service law' means the Army Act, 1952 (XXXIX of 1952), the Air Force Act, 1953 (VI of 1953) or the Navy Ordinance, 1961 (XXXV of 1961) and includes the rules and regulations under any of them;
(e) 'territory of Bangladesh' means the territory of the Republic as defined in article 2 of the Constitution of the People's Republic Of Bangladesh;
(f) 'Tribunal' means a Tribunal set up under this act.
3.Jurisdiction of Tribunal and crimes.
(1) A tribunal shall have the power to try and punish a person irrespective of his nationality who, being a member of any armed, defence or auxiliary force, commits or has committed in the territory of Bangladesh, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, any of the following crimes.
(2) The following acts or any of them are crimes within the jurisdiction of a Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility, namely : -
(a) Crimes against Humanity : namely murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, abduction, confinement, torture, rape or other inhumane acts committed against any civilian populaltion or prosecution on political, racial, ethnic or religious ground wether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where prepetrated;
(b) Crimes against Peace : namely planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war of violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(c) Genocide : meaning and including any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national ethnic, racial, religious or political group, such as :
(i) killing members of the group;
(ii) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(iii) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in Whole or in part;
(iv) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(v) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group;
(d) War Crimes : namely, violation of laws of customs of war which include but are limited to murder, ill treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population in the territory of Bangladesh; murder, ill treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages and detenues, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages or devastation justified by military necessity;
(e) violation fo any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
(f) any other crimes under international law;
(g) attempt abetment or conspiracy to commit any such crimes;
(h) complicity in or failure to prevent commission of any such crimes.
4. Liability for Crimes.
(1) When any crime specified in section 3 is committed by severel persons, each of such person is liable for that crime in the same manner as if it was done by him alone;
(2) Any Commander or superior officer who orders, permits, acquiesces or participates in the commission of any of the crimes specified in section 3 is connected with any plans or activities involving the commission of such crimes or who fails or omits to discharge his duty to maintain discipline or to control or supervise the actions of the persons under his command or his subordinates or any of them commit any such crimes or who fails to take necessary measures to prevent the commission of such crimes is guilty of such crimes.
5. Official position, etc, not to free an accused from responsibility from any crime.
(1) The official position, at any time,of an accused shall not be considered freeing him from responsibilitiy or mitigating punishment.
(2) The fact that the accused acted persuant to his domestic law or to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal deems that justice so requires.
(1) For the purpose of section 3, the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, set up one or more Tribunals, each consisting of a Chairman and not less than two and not more than four other members.
(2) Any person who is qualified to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh or has been a judge of any High Court or Supreme Court which at any time was in existence in the territory of Bangladesh or who is qualified to be a member of General Court Martial under any service law of Bangladesh maybe appointed as a Chairman or member of a Tribunal.
(3) The permanent seat of a Tribunal shall be in Dacca (Dhaka) : Provided that a Tribunal may hold its sittings at such other place or places it deems fit.
(4) If any member of a Tribunal dies or is, due to illness or any other reason unable to continue to perform his functions, the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare the office of such member to be vacant and appoint thereto another person qualified to hold the office.
(5) If in the course of a trial, any one of the members of a Tribunal is, for any reason, unable to attend any sitting thereof, the trial may continue before the other members.
(6) A Tribunal shall not, merely by reason of any change inthe membership or the absence of any member thereof from any sitting, be bound to recall and re-hear any witness who has already given any evidence and may act on the evidence already given or produced before it.
(7) If upon any matter requiring the decision of a Tribunal, there is a difference of opinion among its members, the opinion of the majority shall prevail and the decision of the Tribunal shall be expressed in terms of the views of the majority.
( Neither the constitution of a Tribunal nor the appointment of its Chairman or members shall be challenged by the prosecution or by the accused persons or their counsel.
(1) The Government may appoint one or more persons to conduct the prosecution before a Tribunal on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Government; and every such person shall be deemed to be a Prosecutor for the purpose of this Act.
(2) The Govenrment may designate one of each such persons as the Chief Prosecutor.
(1)The Government may establish an Agency for the purpose of investigation into crimes specified in section 3; and any officer belonging to the Agency shall apply to such Prosecutor.
(2) Any person appointed as a Prosecutor is competent to act as an Investigation Officer and the provisions relating to investigation shall apply to such Prosecutor.
(3) Any Investigation Officer making an investigation under this Act may, by order in writing, require the attendance before himself of any person who appears to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case; and such person shall attend as so required.
(4) Any Investigation Officer making an investigation under this Act may examine orally any person who appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.
(5) Such person shall be bound to answer all questions put to him by an Investigation Officer and shall not be excused from answering any question on the groud that the answer to such question will criminate,or may tend directly or indirectly to criminate, such person;
Provided that no such answer, which a person shall be compelled to give, shall subject him to any arrest or prosecution, or be proved against him in any criminal proceeding.
(6) The Investigation Officer may reduce into writing any statement made to him in the course of examination under this section.
(7) Any person who fails to appear before an Investigation Officer for the purpose of examination or refuses to answer the questions put to him by such Investigation Officer shall be punished with simple imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to taka two thousand, or both.
( Any Magistrate of the first class may take cognizance of an offence punishable under sub section (7) upon a complaint in writing by an Investigation Officer.
(9) Any investigation done into the crimes specified in section 3 shall be deemed to have been done under the provisions of this Act.
9. Commencement of the proceedings.
(1) The proceedings before a Tribunal shall commence upon the submission by the Chief Prosecutor, or a Prosecutor, authorise by the Chief Prosecutor in this behalf, of formal charges of crimes alleged to have been committed by each of the accused person.
(2) The Tribunal shall thereafter fix a date for the trial of such accused person.
(3) the Chief Prosecutor shall, at least three weeks before the commencement of the trial, furnish to the Tribunal a list of witnesses intended to be produced along with the recorded statement of such witnesses for copies thereof and copies of documents which the prosecution intends to rely upon in support of such charges.
(4) The submission of a list of witnesses and documents under sub-section
(3) shall not preclude the prosecution from calling, with the permission of the Tribunal, additional witnesses or tendering any further evidence at any stage of the trial:
Provided that notice shall be given to the defence of the additional witnesses intended to be called or additional evidence sought to be tendered by the prosecution.
(5) A list of witnesses for the defence. If any, along with the documents or copies thereof, which the defence intends to rely upon, shall be furnished to the Tribunal and the prosecution at the time of the commencement of the trial.
10. Procedure of trial.
(1) The following procedure shall be followed at a trial before a Tribunal, namely:-
(a) the charge shall be read out;
(b) the Tribunal shall ask each accused person whether he pleads guilty or not-guilty;
(c) if the accused person pleads guilty the Tribunal shall record the plea, and may, in its discretion convict him thereon;
(d) the prosecution shall make an opening statement;
(e) the witnesses for the prosecution shall be examined, the defence may cross-examine such witnesses and the prosecution may re-examine them;
(f) the witnesses for the defence, if any, shall be examined, the prosecution
may cross-examine such witnesses and the defence may re-examine them;
(g) the Tribunal may, in its discretion, permit the party which calls a witness to put any question to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party;
(h) the Tribunal may, in order to discover or obtain proof of relevant facts, ask any witness any question it pleases, in any form and at any time about any fact; and may order production of any document or thing or summon any witness, and neither the prosecution nor the defence shall be entitled either to make any objection to any such question or order or, without the leave of the Tribunal, to cross examine any witness upon any answer given in reply to any such question;
(i) the prosecution shall first sum up its case, and thereafter the defence shall sum up its case:
Provided that if any witness is examined by the defence, the prosecution shall have the right to sum up its case after the defence has done so;
(j) the Tribunal shall deliver its judgement and promounce its verdict.
(2) All proceedings before the Tribunal shall be in English.
(3) Any accused person or witness who is unable to express himself in, or does not understand, English may be provided the assistance of an interpretor.
(4) The proceedings of the Tribunal shall be in public:
Provided that the Tribunal may, if it thinks fit, take proceedings in camera.
(5) No oath shall be administered to any accussed person.
11. Powers of Tribunal.
(1) A Tribunal shall have power-
(a) to summon witnesses to the trial and to require their attendence and testimony and to put questions to them;
(b) to administer oaths to witnesses;
(c) to require the production of document and other evidentiary material;
(d) to appoint persons for carrying out any time designated by the Tribunal.
(2) For the purpose of enabling any accused person to explain any circumstances apprearing to the evidance against him, a Tribunal may, at any time of the trial withour previously warning the accused person, put such questions to him as the Tribunal considers necessary:
Provided that the accused person shall not render himself liable to punishment by refusing to answer such questions or by giving false answers to them; but the Tribunal may draw such inference from such refusal or answers as it thinks just.
(3) A Tribuanl shall-
(a) confine the trial to an expeditious hearing of the issue raised by the charges;
(b) take measures to prevent any action which may cause unreasonable delay and rule out irrelevent issues and statements.
(4) A Tribunal may punish any person who obstructs or abuses its process or disobeys any of its orders or directions, or does anything which tends to prejudice the case of a party before it, or tends to bring it or any of its members to hatred or contempt, or does anything which constitutes contempt of the Tribunal, with simple imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to Taka five thousand, or with both.
(5) Any member of the Tribunal shall have power to direct, or issue a warrant for, the arrest of, and to commit custody, and to authorise the continued detention in custody of, any person charged with any crime specified in section 3.
(6) The Chairman of a Tribunal may make such administrative arrangements as he considers necessary for the performance of the functions of the tribunal under this act.
12. Provision for defence counsel.
Where an accused person is not represented by counsel the Tribunal may, at any stage of the case, direct that a counsel shall be engaged at the expense of the Government to defend the accused person or may also determine the fees to be paid to such counsel.
13. Restriction of adjournment.
No trial before a Tribunal shall be adjourned for any purpose unless the Tribunal is of the opinion that the adjournment is in the interest of the justice.
14. Statement or confession of accused persons.
(1) Any magistrate of the first class may record any statement or confession made to him by an accused at anytime in the course of investigation or at anytime before the commencement of the trial.
(2) The Magistrate shall, before recording any such confession, explain to the accused person making it that he is not bound to make a confession and that if he does so it maybe used as evidence against him and no magistrate shall record any such confession unless upon questioning the accused making it, he has reason to belive that it was made voluntarily.
15. Pardon of an approver.
(1) At any stage of the trial, a Tribunal may with a view to obtaining the evidence of any person supposed to have been directly or indirectly concerned in, or privy to any of the crimes specified in section 3, tender a pardon to such person on condition of his making a full and close disclosure of the whole and the true circumstances within his knowledge relative to the crime and for every other person concerned whether as principal or abottor, in the commission thereof.
(2) Every person accepting the tender under this section shall be examined as a witness in the trial.
(3) Such person shall be detained in custody until the termination of the trial.
16. Charge, etc.
(1) Every charge against an accused person shall state-
(a) the name and particulars of the accused person;
(b) the crime of which the accused person is charged;
(c) such particulars of the alleged crime as are reasonably sufficient to give the accused person notice of the matter with which he is charged.
(2) A copy of the formal charge and the copy of the documents lodged with the formal charge shall be furnished to the accused person at a reasonable time before the trial; and in case of any difficulty in furnishing copies of the documents, reasonable opportunity for inspection shall be given to the accused person in such manner as the Tribunal may decide.
17.Right of the accused person during trial.
(1) During trial of an accused person he shall have the right to give any explanation relevant to the charge made against him.
(2) An accused person shall have the right to conduct his own defence before the Tribunal or to have the assistance of counsel.
(3) An accused person shall have the right to present evidence at the Trial to support his defence, and to cross-examine any witness called by the proscecution.
18. No excuse from answering any question.
A witness shall not be excused from answering any question put to him on the ground, that the answer to such question will criminate or may tend directly or indirectly will criminate such witness, or that it will expose or tend to expose such witness to a penalty or forfeiture of any kind.
Provided that no such answer which a witness shall be compelled to give shall subject him to any arrest or prosecution or be proved against him in any criminal proceeding, except a prosecution for giving false evidence.
19. Rules of evidence.
(1) A Tribunal not be bound by technical rules of evidence; and it shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and may admit any evidence, including reports and photographs published in newspapers, periodicals and magazines, films and taperecordings and other materials as may be tendered before it, which it deems to have probative value.
(2) A Tribunal may receive in evidence any statement recorded by a Magistrate or an Investigation Officer being a statement made by any person who, at the time of the trial, is dead or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which the Tribunal considers unreasonable.
(3) A Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof.
(4) A Tribunal shall take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations and its subsidiary agencies or other International bodies including non-governmental organisation.
20. Judgement and Sentence
(1) The Judgement of a Tribunal as to the guilt or the innocence of any accused person shall give the reasons on which it is based :
Provided that each member of the Tribunal shall be competent to delive a judgement of his own.
(2) Upon conviction of an accused person, the Tribunal shall award sentence of death or such other punishment proportionate to the gravity of the crime as appears to the Tribunal tobe just and proper.
(3) The sentence awarded under this Act shall be carried out in accordance with the orders of the Government.
21. Right to appeal.
A person convicted of any crime specified in section 3 and sentenced by a Tribunal shall have the right to appeal to the Appelate division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh against such conviction and sentence :
Provided that such appeal may be preferred within sixty days of date of order of conviction and sentence.
22. Rules of procedure.
Subject to the provision of this Act, a Tribunal may regulate its own procedure.
23. Certain laws not to apply.
The provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code 1898 (V of 1898) and the Evidence Act 1872 (I of 1872) shall not apply in any proceedings under this Act.
24. Bar of Jurisdiction.
No order, Judgement or sentence of a Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner whatsoever in or before any Court or other Authority in any legal proceedings whatsoever except in the manner provided in section 21.
No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Government or any person or anything in good faith, done or purporting to have been done under the Act.
26. Provisions of the Act over-riding all other laws.
The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force.