the shortage of time, Honorable Speaker, I will make my speech short.
You will find all details of how Bangladeshi war criminals committed
their heinous acts in a book published here, called, "WAR CRIMES
AND GENOCIDE : The trial of Pakistani war criminals". In WAR CRIME
AND BANGLADESH- The details of humanity and justice, the then Awami
League government vividly described the acts of war criminals and
tried to portray the baleful nature of these individuals. There
is another book, "THOUSAND MY LAIS", that describes the various
wrongs that were committed at various times during the war. Through
these publications and laws, the Awami League government started
a system of exposing and trying the war criminals. Why was this
the Criminal Act was discarded on December 31, 1975, by Marshal
° After that on December 31, 1975, the safeguard to the Criminal
Act was abolished with the Second Proclamation Order No. 3 of 1975.
° Subsequently the Second Proclamation Order No. 3 of 1976 overwrote
section 38, which had abolished religion based politics.
° The Second Proclamation addressing section 122 re-established
the right of war criminals to vote
° Proclamation Order No. 1 of 1977 overrode certain points in
section 66, which addressed the rights of war criminals to contest
° On 18th January, 1976, the war criminals were asked by the
ministry to apply for citizenship
° · And Proclamation Order No. 1 of 1977 eliminated section
12 of the constitution.
I now want to point out, Honorable Speaker, that all this done under
Marshal Law ordinance and not through the parliament.
Legitimacy of a Public Tribunal:
Questions regarding the constitutional legitimacy of a public tribunal
has been raised in this parliament. Our constitution is our responsibility.
A certain member has asked where public tribunals are mentioned
in the constitution. In reply I would like to ask where the constitution
mentions Marshal Law. What would their reply be? Does any part of
the constitution legitimize Marshal Law? There is nothing in the
constitution that addresses Marshal Law. The constitution says nothing
about constitutional declarations of Marshal Law, Honorable Speaker.
In that case, aren't all amendments of laws addressing war criminals
that were instituted by Marshal Law proclamations and ordinances
and later ratified by the fifth session of the Parliament, illegal,
If public tribunals are expelled from the constitution then so should
Marshal Law. However, I have a few questions for all those who want
to declare public trials unconstitutional. Honorable Speaker, BNP
has said that Ershad had illegally usurped power. I was actually
the one who had first made this claim publicly. My claim was based
on the fact that Ershad had assumed power through Marshal Law. Therefore,
his power becomes illegitimate as soon as Marshal Law is declared
unconstitutional. However, I have to then ask the BNP government
why they did not go to court when Ershad unconstitutionally assumed
power. Instead of seeking the judiciary body, BNP had conducted
a public tribunal. They presented their grievance to the public,
asked for the people's help and obtained the people's ruling. Going
to the general public was the right move. We do not disapprove of
All power rests with the people:
Honorable Speaker, section 7 of our constitution says : "The owner
of all republican power are the citizens". Therefore, the citizens
are the supreme-court and second to none.
Going to the public today is not criminal in any way. Not only that,
Honorable Speaker, on a date I cannot remember, a man called Rashid
attempted to murder the son of our Begum Zia with a Patabahar branch.
Subsequently, Begum Zia gave a speech in the Gulisthan circle where
she accused Ershad of murdering her husband. In that instance too,
I will claim that instead of going to court regarding her husband's
murder, Begum Zia went to a public tribunal. She asked the general
public for their judgement and presented them with her grievances.
Even she went to the public instead of the legal system.
Honorable Speaker, you know the people who have conducted the public trial. The members of the public tribunal are Jahanara Imam, chairperson, Advocate Gaziul Haq, member, Dr. Ahmed Sharif, Founder Mazharul Islam, Barrister Shafiq Ahmed, Fayez Ahmed, Kabir Chowdhury, Mawlana Abdul Awal, Lieutenant Colonel Kazi Nuruzzaman (Retd.), Lieutenant Colonel Abu Osman Chowdhury (Retd.) and Barrister Shawkat Ali Khan. Honorable Speaker, these are the people who have created the public tribunal. Case number 1/1992. The defendant was Golam Azam, father- Mawlana Golam Kabir, Sakin Pakistan.
Honorable Speaker, they came to you after the trial and you gave them the permission to see you. They went to see the leader of the Parliament and she recognized their endeavor and met with them. They came to me and I have of course recognized their efforts. If the public tribunal is to be made illegal today, if the people's judgement is not recognized, you must also concede that it is a judgement and an action that you yourself sanctioned, Honorable Speaker.
Honorable Speaker, I feel saddened when I see that those in front of me are not recognizing the people's judgement. How can you forget that those of us who are here have all come with the mandate of the people?
Honorable Speaker, we demanded the Ershad government's resignation
through revolution and I was the first one to declare on 6th November,
1990 in a public rally at Panthapath that Ershad had to resign as
his power was unconstitutional. I cited the constitution because,
just as BNP members are saying today that public tribunals are unconstitutional,
Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Mr. Shah Moazzem had said then that there
was nothing in the constitution dictating the formation of a neutral,
non-partisan government. They asked whether we intended to converge
on the power through Zero Point.