Monday, August 20, 2012

Bangladesh War Crimes Trial & U.S. Congressman

Statement of U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina in the House. (This was posted in International Criminal Law Bureau's blog A comment to that was sent in July 31, 2012.

E1176       CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—Extensions of Remarks      June 28, 2012



Thursday, June 28, 2012
Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, last week, as a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, I met Mir Ahmad BinQuasem of Bangladesh. Mir Ahmad informed me that his father, Mir Quasem Ali, was arrested on June 17, 2012, by the Bangladesh International, War, Crimes Tribunal for alleged crimes committed during the 1971 War of Liberation against then-West Pakistan, and for campaigning ‘‘against the process of this [War Crimes] Tribunal in foreign countries.’’

Mir Quasem Ali is the owner of Bangladesh’s largest opposition-run media outlet, which has been openly critical of the Tribunal and of the ruling government at-large. As such, I am concerned that his arrest and ongoing detention may represent a thinly-veiled attempt by the ruling government of   Bangladesh to silence its opponents and critics.

In addition to my concerns about this arrest, it has come to my attention that the Tribunal itself is inherently flawed and lacks compliance with international standards. It appears that the Tribunal is international in name only, as it lacks international oversight or involvement, experienced foreign attorneys have been banned from participating, and the Tribunal violates at least two of Bangladesh’s international treaty obligations. Tribunal defendants are not only denied access to international standards of justice, but several of the rights granted by domestic law. These include the right to an independent appeal, which is explicitly denied to defendants of the Tribunal. As a member of the Middle East and South Asia subcommittee, I am very concerned about the implications that Mir Quasem Ali’s arrest has for the state of democracy within Bangladesh. I will continue to closely monitor this situation and I hope that Bangladesh will take assertive measures to ensure that its upcoming elections are conducted in a openly democratic matter. I am hopeful for a bright future for the people of Bangladesh with open and fair justice for all of its citizens.

A Letter to Honorable Wilson:
July 18, 2012
The Hon. Joe Wilson                     
Congressman                                                                                                                                        2229 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20516
Dear Congressman Wilson:                

Sub: Trial of Intolerant Extremist Islamists, Mass Killing of Hindu and Secularists, and Mir Quasem Ali
I am writing after reading your statement at the Congressional Record of June 28, 2012. I applaud your effort in pointing out shortcomings of the International War Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka, but I hope your effort is not to undermine the Tribunal when the Bengali Islamists and the Army of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan targeted the entire Hindu minority for extermination (sadly that word was used) and all the secularists. Support for intolerant Islamism is one thing, but one cannot forget killers of our families. As a non-Muslim minority whose family was victim during a prior era, I am writing this on behalf of many of our concerned friends and family members. On March 21, 2012 I testified at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and on July 29, 2011 Congressman Dold of Illinois used my book, Empire’s Last Casualty: Indian Subcontinent’s Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities, to talk about this loss at the Congress. A few years back I spoke on this issue with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen at a Manhattan meeting. In 2008 I testified at Rayburn Office Building with Congressman Crowley.
I head the Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project (ISPaD) which wrote to Secretary of State Clinton seeking her support for the International War Crimes Tribunal (see page 4 of our newsletter.) We have interviewed scores of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians that you will find at YouTube’s Ispad1947 channel. Every single Hindu interviewed was victimized in 1971 – from killing of their family members to torching of homes to pillaging to cleansing. Just yesterday at that hearing one testified “70 Hindus killed in one day” (The Daily Star, Dhaka; http://www. I am not sure why our lives should be expendable and killers should not be held responsible.
Since the days of partition of India in 1947, most of the cleansed Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Jains of Pakistan, Pakistani Kashmir, Bangladesh and Afghanistan live in India, victims of intolerant Islamism. (A large number of Indian-Americans are of that origin.) As a non-partisan observer I would request you to please extend your support for the trial of killers of anti-Hindu genocide and killers of secular Muslims – with your guidance. If you need additional information, please let me know.
Sachi G. Dastidar, Ph.D. (Distinguished Service Professor, Politics, Economics and Law Department, State University of New York; and Chair, Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project)
Copy: Congressman Crowley, Ros-Lehtinen; Hindu American Foundation; Federation of India Associations; Governor Haley

In the summer of 2012 a group of American rights activist with roots in the Subcontinent met with the Congressman's office in Washington D.C. They were informed that the Congressman's office was misinformed about the seriousness of the crimes of mass killers during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation Movement when secularist Muslims, pro-independence Awami League Party workers and the entire Hindu minority were targeted for killing.

1 comment:

ahmed ziauddin said...

Thank you Dr. Dastidar for your letter to Congressman. Although you did not address his claims, comments and observation but the fact that a distinguished person has challenged his attempt to question the justice process for the victims of international crimes of 1971 should deserve appreciation. I hope you will continue your activism for ICT, the only initiative to end impunity for 1971 crimes. Thank you. With regards, Dr. Ahmed Ziauddin, ICSF (International Crimes Strategic Forum),