The Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Ministers' Maiden Pledges
1972 constitution to be restored
Says Barrister Shafique
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed yesterday said his ministry will take steps to restore the 1972 constitution in order to reestablish the spirits of secularism, the great liberation war, rule of law, human rights and democracy in the country. "As a lawyer and human rights activist I have certain commitments to the people. The government is also committed to restore the Constitution of 1972. If those commitments are fulfilled, the religious militancy and terrorism emerged in recent years in the country will be rooted out," he said.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star at his Indira Road residence Tuesday night immediately after taking oath as a minister, Barrister Shafique Ahmed said his ministry will take all necessary legal steps to try the war criminals who committed genocide, rapes and torture against the people of the country during the liberation war in 1971.
The war criminals should be tried in the special tribunal under the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973, he said. "My first task will be to scrutinize the ordinances promulgated by the immediate past caretaker government to place those before the parliament to pass those into laws. The caretaker government has promulgated more than 100 ordinances and if those are not passed in the parliament within 30 days after the start of its session, those will be lapsed," he said. Replying to a question Barrister Shafique said his ministry will very soon establish an independent secretariat for the judiciary in order to ensure the independence of the judiciary and to effectively execute the separation of the judiciary from the executive.
He said the judges should be appointed to the Supreme Court and High Court as per the rules of the 1972 Constitution so that honest, competent and qualified judges are appointed there as per recommendations of the Chief Justice. "Two vacant posts of judges of the Appellate Division will be filled up soon, as per the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Commission. The commission on October 16 last year recommended names of four senior most judges of the High Court division for appointment of two of them to the Appellate Division," he said.
He also said at least 20 new competent and honest judges should be appointed to the High Court to dispense fair and speedy justice.