Controversial House of Lords Seminar Sponsored by War Criminal Lobbies

(A translation by Rezwan Islam from the original Bengali version of the piece at Muktangon blog)

London: 22 June.

An attempt to make the ongoing trial of war criminals in Bangladesh questionable in international arena has been wasted. One makeshift organisation called ‘Justice Concern’ tried to arrange this with the help of All-party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (APPGHR) of UK. The role of Lord Eric Avebury, the vice Chairman of APPGHR has also been questioned by different quarters.

It may be mentioned here that Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the protectors of some alleged Bangladeshi war criminals have been lobbying in the international arena, especially in the UK and USA, under different banners to stop the trial of war criminals. Justice Concern is one such organisation, which was unheard in UK till-to-date.

Justice Concern used All-party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (APPGHR) to take steps to make the ongoing trial of war criminals in Bangladesh questionable. They achieved preliminary success on this as on 23rd of June they arranged a seminar in the House Of Lords titled “Bangladesh’s International Crime (Tribunal) Act 1973: Quality Of International Trial”. The activities of ‘Justice Concern’ (JC) was to make a buzz about this seminar and ensure presence of the representatives of the Bangladesh Government. Not only JC failed in that but it was also exposed that they have close ties with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshi expatriates in UK have raised concerns about this APPGHR seminar.

Meanwhile, we tried to contact them via the telephone number available for RSVP on the seminar and we have succeeded on the 21st of June. The phone call was received by Barrister Ashaduzzaman Fuad., the convenor of JC. Talking about the seminar he mentioned that JC is not involved with the arrangement of this seminar and APPGHR is solely responsible.

After that we contacted the APPGHR office and one employee informed us that according to his knowledge APPGHR is not involved in such an event. However one of the organisers of War Crimes Strategy Forum (WCSF) confirmed that Lord Avebury had invited them to be present in that seminar. But they cited evidences of involvement of Jamaat-e-Islami in this seminar and refused to attend.

It has been learnt that although the invitations for the seminar went out in the name of APPGHR, the contact telephone number available is of one persons whose sympathies, based on his other organisational affiliations, evidently lies with Jammat-e-Islami politics. After confirming this information some WCSF activists in UK tried to dig deep. They contacted experts and other human rights activities in the field to learn more about the organisation (Justice Concern) and its affiliations. They found out that the domain has been registered in the name of Kamal Sikder, the Executive Editor of weekly Eurobangla magazin, who is affiliated with Jamaat. Kamal Sikder was in the executive committee of Bangladesh Islami Chattra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. His home address was used to register the domain. The contact us and about us pages of the site is not open for public. Barrister Ashaduzzaman Fuad, the coordinator, was involved with Bangladesh Islami Chattra Shibir’s politics when he was studying in Dhaka university. He became the executive editor of Bangladesh Forum Of Europe (BFE) after coming to UK. BFE is regarded as the flagship organisation of Bangladesh Islami Chattra Shibir cadres in UK. Jamaat leaders like Matiur Rahman Nizami have previously attended in their programs in UK. Moreover BFE has been accused of having ties with the radical IFE (Islamic Forum of Europe – IFE). One of the co-founders of IFE is the alleged Bangladeshi war criminal Chowdhury Mueenuddin, who had been accused of killing intellectuals during the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh. [See here and here, for details]

It has been learnt that certain misguided information were used to ensure presence of the representatives of the Bangladesh Government. The Jamaat lobbyists publicised that many representatives of International Bar Association will be present, so if Bangladesh Government representatives do not attend – this will breed controversy. But WCSF publicised some facts which made everybody aware of the true facts. So it has been learnt that Bangladesh government representatives will not be attending this seminar.

But JC is continuing with their efforts. As a part of their lobbying, a seminar titled “Bangladesh: Democracy, Rule Of Law and Freedom Of Expression” is being arranged in the Queen Mary Mason Lecture Theatre. The seminar will be presided by Barrister Ashaduzzaman Fuad., the convenor of JC and the chief guest will be Barrister Mahbub Hossain and Barrister Badruddoza Badal, the Chairman and Secretary of Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association respectively.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article or in the comment section are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF).


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