The Bangladesh parliament on Sunday amended the war crimes law to allow the prosecution to try and punish any organisations, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, a significant move that could pave the way for banning the country's largest Islamic party.
The move was cheered by tens of thousands of protesters who have been camping in Shahbagh for the past 13 days demanding a ban on Jamaat, whose leaders are on trial for war crimes allegedly committed in the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
The amendment was brought during the passage of the much-talked-about bill which also brought some other changes to International Crimes Tribunals Act, 1973 to allow the government and informants and complaints to appeal against any verdict of the war crimes tribunals.
Before Sunday’s amendment, the law allowed only the convicts to appeal against any conviction. The government brought the changes to the law in the wake of the ongoing mass movement at Shahbagh in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
The move also came after an anti-Islamist blogger was killed on Friday amid the massive protest against the leaders Jamaat. People burst into protest on February 5 when a verdict delivered by a war crimes tribunal sentenced Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison.
The protesters feel Mollah was handed down ‘a lenient sentence’ and that he should be awarded the death penalty.
On Wednesday, the law minister placed the bill in the parliament proposing changes to the act to empower the government and people unhappy with any judgment of a war crimes tribunal to appeal.