The Idea Of Truth Commission
Saturday, 26 July 2008

Unlike Truth Commission established by Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the Truth Commission in Bangladesh comes with a twist, the purpose being to quickly dispose of certain types of criminal offences involving defalcation and looting of public wealth. As to why the Emergency Government is in such a hurry to dispose off such serious offences related to corruption, is difficult to understand and even more difficult to support particularly when there are existing "laws of the land" to deal with such offences in due course of time and through due processes.  The so-called Truth Commission had been in the offing for the last one year, against much public opposition but now everything has been finalized and the Commission will come into being within a week or so with a life-span of about five months, that is, till the parliamentary elections in December 2008. The Commission is going to hear voluntary confessions from corrupted person as to how and to what extent they came across their ill-gotten wealth and thereafter exempt them from any other process of law or any other punishments provided that these thieves deposit the looted money to the national exchequer and stay away from politics and public employment for a period of 5 years.  We and everyone else have said it before and we are saying it again that what the Truth Commission is going to do is a clear violation of every norm of Justice and of Law. The Truth Commission is discriminatory because it intends to provide advantages to a very few selective lot of people to bypass existing laws and due processes. For example, would the Truth Commission allow the thousands of thieves, pickpockets and dacoits to come up to the Commission, confess their guilt, deposit the money and wealth they have looted to the national exchequer and get out of jails. Those who promulgate and those who will operate the laws dealing with the Truth Commission ought to be aware of these considerations .

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