Guernica 37
Guernica 37

DELEGATION FROM BANGLADESH VISITS THE ICC IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN RECOGNITION FOR A JUDICIAL PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN UNIVERSALLY CONDEMNED

– PRESS RELEASE –

 

DELEGATION FROM BANGLADESH VISITS THE ICC IN AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN RECOGNITION FOR A JUDICIAL PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN UNIVERSALLY CONDEMNED

 

  • The current situation in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is one of significant concern, and as much as there appears to be almost universal acknowledgement that there has been a complete breakdown in the Rule of Law and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, a six-member delegation from the Bangladesh Government and Judiciary met with representatives from the International Criminal Court in an attempt to legitimise a fundamentally flawed judicial process.
  • Bangladesh is a State Party to a number of important treaties, including the Rome Statute of the ICC and persistently speaks of its commitment to the protection of universal rights and freedoms. Such statements are hollow and illusory if such rights have no practical application.
  • The current Government claims to uphold the highest principles set out in the Rome Statute and a number of other international treaties. In reality, it has increasingly moved towards an autocratic state that seeks to silence any political opponents by means of arbitrarily arresting civilians, using brutal methods of torture in police custody, holding individuals incommunicado in undisclosed locations and executing extra-judicially political opponents.
  • Guernica 37 – International Justice Chambers has acted on behalf of a number of individuals that have faced trial before the infamous ICT and family members that have disappeared at the hands of the Security Forces.
  • The ICT has been widely condemned by international human rights groups and recognized international jurists.
  • On 20 June 2017, the six-member delegation met with the ICC President and Deputy Prosecutor and proclaimed, falsely, that the ICC fully supports the war crimes trials in Bangladesh.

 

LONDON, 22 June 2017 – This week, Bangladeshi media sought to suggest that during a recent delegation led by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, that the President and Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC were full of praise for the ICT and “…praised Bangladesh for her commitment to the Rome Statute…”.

This is simply incorrect. The statements represent at the very least a misrepresentation of what was discussed with the ICC President and Deputy Prosecutor, and at worst, a wilful attempt to gather support for a process that constitutes a flagrant denial of justice and represents a stain on the international criminal justice community.

Statements that appeared in various Bangladesh news outlets on 21 and 22 June 2017, would appear to emanate from representatives from the Government of Bangladesh and the judiciary.  The members of the six-party delegation, are called upon to immediately correct those statements.

It is quite clear that at no time did the President of the ICC, the Deputy Prosecutor or any other senior member of staff praise the Bangladesh ICT, nor did anyone suggest that Bangladesh was committed to the principles of the Rome Statute in its own domestic trial process.

Such comments were not made, as quite simply they cannot be made given the flagrant disregard for due process, for fundamental rights and freedoms, and for the Rule of Law, that the Bangladesh ICT has shown over the years.

Furthermore, this is not the first time that the Bangladesh media, and members of the Government of Bangladesh has shown itself to be willing to deliberately misrepresent the position about its engagement with jurists and members of the international legal community.

Stephen J. Rapp, in his previous position as the US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice, was twice reported as taking a favourable position towards the ICT and the procedures that it had adopted.  On both occasions the reporting was false; the second occasion causing Ambassador Rapp to issue a statement in rebuttal to correct the position.

This is not the first time that representatives from the Government of Bangladesh have sought to inappropriately gain recognition for the ICT from representatives of the ICC.  In fact, it is the third such occasion.

In response to a request for clarification the Office of the ICC President stated:

“The following clarification is offered in order to avoid any incorrect perception of statements made by the ICC President during the meeting referred to in the news article “International Criminal Court praises Bangladesh’s commitment to the Rome Statute” at http://khabor.com/archives/110114.

The President expressed appreciation for Bangladesh’s support of the Court as one of the few South Asian States Parties to the Rome Statute and thanked the Chief Justice of Bangladesh for paying a visit to the ICC and engaging in dialogue, which is important for the Rome Statute system as a whole.  However, it may be clarified that the President of the ICC did not comment in any way during the meeting on national proceedings conducted for crimes under international law before the courts of Bangladesh.”

The Office of the ICC Prosecutor confirmed that:

“At the meeting in question, while Court representatives expressed appreciation for the engagement of Bangladesh – in this case, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his delegation – with the Court as a State Party from the South Asian regional group, the discussions were general in nature and in no way entertained or opined on ongoing proceedings at the national or international level involving Bangladesh.

“As it concerns the comments regarding the ICT-BD, the Deputy Prosecutor’s observations were confined to merely acknowledging his visit to the Tribunal on a prior visit to Bangladesh, while stressing the principle of prosecutorial independence and impartiality. In the same vein, the Deputy Prosecutor also referenced his meeting with defence counsel while in Dhaka, and in his general remarks, expressed how important it was to have a strong defence in judicial proceedings.”

It is therefore quite clear that the statements attributed to senior officials at the ICC are palpably false.

It is notable, that the desperation for legitimacy and credibility is so great that the Judiciary, the media, and the Government of Bangladesh are prepared to manipulate, mischaracterise, and misrepresent, in a desperate attempt to achieve their objective.

The reality of the matter, is that the pursuit of justice is commendable, impunity should never be allowed to perpetuate.  However, in seeking accountability, a fair model must be adopted, and one that respects the Rule of Law, and the fundamental fair trial guarantees that accused expect.

The ICT ignores these two concepts, and has at no time acted in a fair or just manner.  It has adopted a position of ‘conviction at all costs’, and is thus a weapon of the ruling Awami League to weaken and destroy any opposition to its rule.

The international community have at no time condemned the pursuit of justice; they have however, condemned at every turn, the model and mechanisms currently adopted in Bangladesh.

It is hoped that the Bangladesh media acknowledges its mistake, and further, that the Government of Bangladesh acknowledges its mistake.

 

 

 

–  ENDS  –

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