Bangladesh war crimes chief judge resigns over hacked calls
DHAKA: The chief judge of Bangladesh’s war crimes court resigned on Tuesday after calls over the Internet in which he shared details of cases were published in the press.
“Judge Nizamul Huq tendered his resignation to the law secretary. He has cited personal reasons,” Bangladesh’s deputy law minister Quamrul Islam told AFP.
Huq stepped down after unidentified hackers last week posted on YouTube 17 hours of conversations which were then published by Amar Desh, a pro-opposition newspaper.
In the calls, Huq allegedly suggested that he was under pressure from the government to reach a quick verdict in the ongoing 1971 war crime cases against the country’s senior opposition leaders.
He was quoted as telling a legal expert that the “government has gone mad and it wants a verdict”, according to a transcript printed by Amar Desh.
Huq presides over the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which was created in 2010 to try war crimes suspects.
It has been widely criticised as being a political tool for the ruling Awami League government to target its opponents.
Nine leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the nation’s largest Islamic party, and two from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), are being tried for genocide and crimes committed in the liberation war against Pakistan.
Both Jamaat and the BNP have dismissed the court as a show trial.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which was formerly called East Pakistan, won its independence from then-West Pakistan after a nine-month long war in 1971.
The current government alleges up to three million people were killed in the war, many murdered by locals collaborating with Pakistani forces. Bangladesh has sought an apology from Pakistan over the alleged war crimes.