Jamaat Leaders Seek Repeal of First Amendment
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Two detained leaders of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami have petitioned the High Court to revoke the first amendment to the constitution that paved the way for war crimes trial.

In the writ petition, assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla, suspected war criminals, also sought repeal of some sections of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, terming them inconsistent with the constitution.

Barrister Abdur Razzaq, also an assistant secretary general of Jamaat, filed the petition on Monday with the bench of justices Abdul Wahhab Miah and Quazi Reza-ul Hoque.

The court will hear the petition on Tuesday, Razzaq told reporters.

The home and law secretaries and War Crimes Tribunal chairman have been made the respondents.

The petition said the first amendment made in 1973 added Clause 3 to the Section 47 and two clauses to the section 47(A) of the constitution.

The clause 3 provides: "Notwithstanding anything contained in this constitution, no law nor any provision thereof providing for detention, prosecution or punishment of any person, who is a member of any armed or defence or auxiliary forces or who is a prisoner of war, for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes and other crimes under international law shall be deemed void or unlawful, or ever to have become void or unlawful, on the ground that such law or provision of any such law is inconsistent with, or repugnant to any of the provisions of this constitution."

The clause 1 of the section 47(A) stipulates that the article 31 (right to protection of law), article 35 (protection from trial and punishment) and article 44 (enforcement of fundamental rights) shall not apply to any person to whom a law specified in clause (3) of article 47 applies.

And clause 2 says notwithstanding anything contained in the constitution, no person to whom a law specified in clause (3) of article 47 applies shall have the right to move the Supreme Court for any of the remedies under the constitution.

The petition mentioned that the section 3 (1) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act denied the fundamental rights and the section 6 (1) on appointment of judges of the tribunal had been inconsistent with the constitution.

It said the act's section 6 (3), stipulating that no one can challenge the legality of the court's functioning in any court, had curtailed the jurisdiction of the High Court.

The petition mentioned that the tribunal act accepted periodicals, books and newspaper as evidence, which was inconsistent with the law.

It said the law has the provision for death penalty, but it has not mentioned for which offences the capital punishment can be awarded.

Razzaq and opposition BNP's standing committee member barrister Moudud Ahmed moved the petition.

Kamaruzzaman, Quader and Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed were produced before the tribunal on August 2 on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the country's liberation war in 1971.

The court asked the concerned authorities to keep them detained until further order.

The four are facing different war crime charges.

Source: bdnews24.com

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