With the brutality of the illegitimate Awami League Government of Bangladesh slothfully crawling onto a more international radar, a young(ish) lawyer from the hyper nationalist ICSF group puts forth a rather long winded legalistic article to pooh-pooh an idea that the government of Bangladesh has committed crimes against humanity.
ICSF stands for International Crimes Strategy Forum. Shit acronyms and campaign names are pretty standards in Bangladesh, they are the bumprint of top down foolishness which suppresses creativity, in power and in opposition.
It is interesting to unread this first defence of the regime by Shah Ali Farhad for a number of reasons.
- The massacre of 5th and 6th May is grave violation of the right for life. The events and their cover up pretty much define our times. Deshis who struggle to know and feel it are what the future is made of. Evidence is building up.
- The deadly police crackdown on protests at the unjust death sentence given to Delwar Husain Sayedee on February the 28th was unacceptable.
- The January 5th 2013 election was stolen. The government is illegitimate.
- The brutality of the pre election government crackdown in Satkhira and other areas is shocking
- The politics of the ICSF - Nirmul - Swadinota Trust - Shahbag - Awami League complex should be made explicit, there is no moral need for the first 4 to defend the government, yet this document joins them at the hip
- The media, national and international is heavily biased towards the Awami League narrative, for social, sexual, financial and political reasons.
- SAF would make an interesting subject of a study called "The Banality of Shahbag"
- Its worth submitting any evidence you might have of government brutality to the ICC Prosecuter, who will be interested to hear from you.
Created on February 18, 2014 at 01:19 [some hack was up late]
The ICC and our [very clearly a very specific our] politics
Shah Ali Farhad
How an international court is being ‘used’ to score political points in here
|Protests erupted on December 19 last year after Pakistan condemned the ICT-Bangladesh verdicts on the war crimes trials [Imran Khan gave a 6 minute wonder of human understanding in the Pakistan National Assembly, and yes it was a judicial murder]|
No, this is not an article on the correlation of politics and cricket vis-à-vis the International Cricket Council. I apologise in advance to anyone who might get that misleading impression from the title. [cringe] Far from that, the subject matter of my article is actually, how an international court in Hague, Netherlands is being “used” [are courts not there to be used?] by known players in UK and US to score political points here, in Dhaka, Bangladesh [is transnationalism a problem? didnt Father Mujib have foreign counsel during the Agartala Conspiracy case ].
On February 4, 9 Bedford Row (a barristers’ chambers in the UK) filed a communication with Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
The communication asks the prosecutor to open a preliminary inquiry into alleged human rights violations by the current Bangladesh government against opposition activists belonging to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (Jamaat) [more than that, as you later concede] .
The time frames which has been suggested include February 2013 onwards generally, and particularly the period of unrest [government brutality] surrounding the Dhaka siege programme by Hefazat-e-Islam in the first week of May 2013 and the weeks preceding and following the January 5 [sham]elections.
The communication alleges that the government, represented by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her son Sajeeb Wazed and other high ranking officials of the current administration have been involved in the systematic repression of the opposition in several districts of Bangladesh within a span of about a year. [quite a long list of districts, and density of incidents, which would indicate a plan, a structure and a lot of organisation]
It alleges that this was achieved through murder, torture, forced disappearances, arbitrary imprisonment, persecution and other inhumane acts on the opposition activists using state machineries like the police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), and the judiciary. [indeed, despicable really, accountability should be extended to pro-government activists in media and civil society]
However, before going to the merit and substance of the allegations [which you do not return to, funny that], it is perhaps best to first refresh our memories regarding the parties involved. 9 Bedford Row is instructed in this matter by a human rights organisation called the International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights (ICFR).
Interestingly, 9 Bedford Row has since October 2010 also provided legal assistance to those leaders of Jamaat and BNP who stand accused or convicted of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICT-BD) [An internationally discredited kangaroo court that has made mincemeat out of the decaying members of the tens of thousands of bengalis, biharis and pakistanis unjustly killed in and around the 9 month 1971 war] . One of the key members of that defence team is a barrister named Toby Cadman. Apart from being a foreign counsel for Jamaat leaders like Nizami, he is also seen speaking on behalf of other convicted war criminals like UK-based Chowdhury Mueenuddin and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury of BNP. [Shahbag was so last year old chap, even fewer people are biting this time, there has been an industrial disaster, a massacre, media control and a sham election to bolster our faith in the government]
In addition, Mr Cadman is also the founder of TMC Advisory Group, an international consultancy (lobbying) firm which claims to have the capacity to influence decisions in “Downing Street, Brussels, Geneva and the White House.” Thus, the human rights activist-cum-counsel is also an international lobbyist. [ problem being? isnt the rt dishonourable Farhad an international (hobbyist) lobbyist?]
If you are finding the combination of a lobbyist, activist and barrister strange, then you should know that I did too, and questioned it on a previous occasion as well (“Toby Cadman: A Crusader for Rights or Devil’s Advocate?” bdnews24, Dec 3, 2012). [ Ah BDNEWS24, plutocrat Salman F Rahmans e-rag, thankyou for the Bollywood self reference brother]
It is of course, not a crime for a counselor or activist to be simultaneously a lobbyist as well. However, questions regarding his motivations [ Ah the motivation defence, I remember this one from that Sweety Sabur's attack on Farida Akhter's contextualisation of Hefazot e Islam, before they were massacred. I do wonder how she sleeps at night. ] can naturally arise though, and quite justifiably so, since the nexus and potential for conflict is too obvious to overlook [How many cliches can you string together in a row? Do you get paid for this shit?].
Now that we are clear about the lawyers and their background, let us turn our attention to the client instructing the said communication, that is, the ICFR. ICFR was formed in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013 after a military coup [Aha so you call it a coup? your Tamarod colleagues in fascist eastern liberalism wouldn't not approve. I note you omit the Rabaa and other massacres which were conducted in broad daylight] removed Egypt’s former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi from office [Patrick Galey's coverage of Egypts spazzy year is valuable].
According to the Washington Post, the organisation is closely associated with Islamist legal efforts to prosecute the coup leaders (“Islamic Rights Group: Investigate Bangladesh,” Feb 4, 2014). If anyone even gives a cursory glance to the website of the group (www.icfr.info), one would find substance in what was stated in the Washington Post article [ I agree that Islamist people and Muslim conservatives have rights to life, audience and political participation and shouldn't be massacred with impunity. Why does Shah Ali Farhad think that they don't?].
The site is dedicated entirely to discussions, reports, evidences and statements on behalf of Muslim Brotherhood. Their members not only include internationally known Brotherhood sympathisers and apologists, but most importantly, Toby Cadman himself. [ I saw a post about charging GWB with war crimes. do you support the Iraq war too?] Thus, the instructed is also the instructor in this particular instance. Even more reasons to feel suspicious about the potential for conflict here. [Nothing illegal here I believe, especially since you are coming from an organisation, the ICSF which played an important role in coaching the 'independent' judges of your kangaroo war crimes court Ref: TribunalGate ]
As for the merit of the allegations, assuming that Cadman et al are acting on the basis of information and evidence provided by Jamaat and/or BNP, then there is a very good chance that factually the allegations are either outright false, or at the very least, exaggerated, given Jamaat and BNP’s very poor record when it comes to figures of oppression and/or repression. [mister 3 million hmmmm]
For example, according to Khaleda Zia’s public assertions made on February 4, between December 26, 2013 and January 27, 152 opposition activists were killed in nine specific districts at the hands of the law enforcers.
However, investigation in this regard by the The Daily Star (from sources such as the BNP itself, police records and media reports) revealed that only 17 people had been killed during that timeframe in those nine districts. [ the Daily star is run by pro government Mahfuz Anam and Transcom industrial grouping, providers of whirlpool spinning washing machines, even if they wanted to cover government brutality, Inus probably got Anams balls between a few electrodes]
By the same token, while the communication itself specifically refers to the security operation conducted in the early hours of May 6, 2013, and cites Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s calls for investigation in this regard, it conveniently fails to point out that in that very report (“Blood on the Streets,” Aug 2013), HRW itself conceded that the opposition and Hefazat-e-Islam’s claims of genocide, massacre, etc were baseless and unsupported by evidence. [HRW had one indigenous deshi researcher, given their track record in hiring people like blind Awami Leaguer and Daily Star staffer Tasneem Khalil during an earlier regime, their investigations are hampered by a lack of capability, access to these disenfranchised communities, seculib leanings, government cover up and as you know the hysteria of the Shahbag movement. I looked at the HRW report on the Gujrat Massacres of 2002 in India recent, they regurgitated several lies, most crucially the 'Muslims burnt the train full of hindutva activists so they kicked it of and kinda deserved it' falacy. They were wrong then and will continue to be wrong about many things, not least because of the politics of Brad Adams and Nato in the region ]
The communication made an incorrect assertion about the ICT-BD and its founding legislation, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 (as amended). It stated that the ICT-BD “has been determined to be in breach of international law on a number of occasions.” This is likely to give the impression that an authoritative body has legally ruled upon the validity of certain actions and/or legal provisions of the ICT-BD as being contrary to international law. [not really, many had determined this, havent you been paying attention?]
In reality nothing of that sort has ever happened. In fact, the UN, US, Britain, the European parliament and many others have all lauded the achievements made so far by the ICT-BD [ bolloxs, though neat reference to your lobbying efforts on the EU scale, how is ziauddin these days?]. The biggest critics of the trials have actually been Mr Cadman and his associates, their clients, and the clients’ national and international associates. [unsurprising as he is DOING HIS JOB]
Interestingly, it is only those countries with which both Mr Cadman and the ICFR share such close proximity that openly took a hostile position vis-a-vis these trials, viz Egypt under Morsi and Turkey under Erdogan. As I stated above in another context, the nexus is too visible to overlook. [did you recently get a Google nexus from Santa or something? say Muslim Ummah, go on, I dare you!]
There are also reasonable grounds to view the other critics with suspicion as those, who want to see the trials derailed, haven’t even spared hiring million-dollar lobbyists in US for attacking Bangladesh’s trial process. [yawn]
Now, one can have his/her doubts about the standards prevailing at the ICT-BD. But one also has to concede that with such a coordinated and well-funded international campaign being run against these trials, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between suggestions and/or criticisms that are genuinely motivated, and those which are induced and/or influenced by partisan interests or lobbying. [lots of slashes in this paragraph, positively diuretic]
Thus, in short, what we have here is BNP-Jamaat’s foreign counsel acting on behalf of the Brotherhood aligned ICFR, talking about the arguable human rights record of the Bangladesh government, while at the same time completely ignoring the gross and wholesale human rights violations which the apolitical people of Bangladesh suffered at the hands of his clients, that is, Jamaat and BNP, in the very time frame suggested in the communication (February 2013 onwards, and most particularly the weeks preceding and following the January 5 elections). [ Ah, the champion of the apolitical people of Bangladesh]
Hence, it is my opinion that it would be naivety of the highest order if anyone even entertains the thought that these people are genuinely concerned about the human rights situation in Bangladesh. They clearly are not. They are professional lobbyists who have been paid (quite handsomely presumably) by their clients to go about the business of discrediting the Bangladesh government in general, and the ICT-BD in particular, at international forums. [when's the bit about the substance of the allegations coming up? you seem to be restating the same things but with different punctuation, paragraph after paragraph]
When the communication asks the ICC to investigate the sentences handed down by the ICT-BD, it shows the complainant’s utter disconnect with the national perception of Bangladeshis in this regard. Even amidst the rapidly changing political landscape of Bangladesh, the only constant over the last few years has been the overwhelming public support that the ICT-BD enjoys. [not really. people give even less of a shit for this emotional game now than ever]
Even the latest opinion poll conducted in January 2014 by Dhaka Tribune revealed that 74% respondents were either “satisfied” or “highly satisfied” with the ICT-BD trials [a thoroughly objective and fair poll no doubt, unlike the election you stole on 5th Jan].
Moreover, even if one legitimate complaint deserves to be made to the ICC for human rights violations in Bangladesh from recent times, it will have to be the extreme form of political violence unleashed by Jamaat and its student organisation Shibir, following the ICT-BD verdicts from February 2013 onwards, a trend which was subsequently adopted by BNP in their failed lengthy campaign for reinstating the caretaker government. [The BNP's point of view is vindicated by the sham election and government clamp down]
Religious minorities have been targeted, attacked, raped and killed. Awami League supporters have had their tendons slit, their houses torched; ordinary people, going about daily lives, were set ablaze along with their vehicles. Vandalism, arson and Molotov bombs terrorised the streets. Even young children were not spared. Railways were sabotaged; tracks uprooted; fish plates removed. Roads dug up to cut off communications. A perpetual physical siege persisted during that period. [worth investigating thoroughly no doubt, especially given the fantastical delusions you've been pushing all year long]
A human rights complaint that does not take into account the foregoing is anything but a genuine complaint on behalf of the Bangladeshi people. And hence, I term it “vexatious and frivolous.” Not only does it fail to take into account the real violations, it purports to put the potential offenders in the place of the victims. That is preposterous. [characteristic double speak]
The frivolous and vexatious nature of this particular complaint is also apparent from the very much ill-motivated inclusion of Sajeeb Wazed’s name in the said communication. Those who follow the politics of Bangladesh are well aware that Sajeeb Wazed is not, in any manner or mode, involved with law enforcement or security issues of Bangladesh. [Actually, Im most interested in this chaps involvement in government over the past 5 years, stupid enought to have been very careless indeed.]
He discharges his functions as the IT adviser to the PM and has been involved with the party’s publicity and campaign matters only, that too in recent times. The communication referred to a facebook post of Sajeeb Wazed which, according to the complainants, resulted in numerous members of the opposition being killed in the days following the statement. [lots of data to collect here]
If anyone has actually seen the post complained of, they would know that it simply dealt with Sajeeb Wazed’s personal outrage and frustration at the resolution that was adopted by the Pakistan National Assembly following the execution of convicted war criminal [judicial mass murder] Abdul Quader Molla, and certainly nothing of the sort suggested in the communication (https://www.facebook.com/sajeeb.a.wazed/posts/385431671593262).
So, what happens now legally? According to Article 15 of the Rome Statute, in order to assess whether to initiate investigations, the prosecutor shall analyse the seriousness of the information received. In order to make this determination, he/she may seek additional information from states, UN organs, NGOs or other reliable sources that he/she deems appropriate.
If he/she concludes that there is “a reasonable basis” to proceed with an investigation, a request for authorisation of a formal investigation is made to the Pre-Trial Chamber of ICC, along with any supporting material collected. If, however, the conclusion is that the information provided does not constitute “a reasonable basis,” that will usually be the end of the matter. [Whats with all the slashes again?]
Pursuant to Article 53, in order to determine whether there is “a reasonable basis,” the prosecutor considers: first, the jurisdiction of the court (including temporal, material, and either territorial or personal jurisdiction); second, admissibility issues (including “complementarity” and assessing gravity of the alleged violations); and lastly, the interests of justice.
It should be noted that Article 17(a) of the Rome Statute provides that a case will be inadmissible where it is being investigated or prosecuted by a state which has jurisdiction over it, unless the state is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution.
There are no reasonable grounds to speculate that the state of Bangladesh is unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out investigation or prosecution into the rights violations complained of. To the best of my knowledge, no such indication has ever been expressed or implied on the part of the current government. [Arrests and hounding of Adilur Rahman, Elan and Mazhar of Odhikar who tried to investigate the Massacre on 6th May, closing down of two TV station and the black out during that night. If the government has nothing to hide,.... pull the other one.]
By the same token, it can also be argued that the scale of the violations alleged is most likely not of “sufficient gravity” meriting involvement of the ICC pursuant to Article 17(d). This requires an assessment of the groups of persons or individuals likely to form the object of the prosecutor’s investigations, the nature of the crimes alleged, and their modus operandi through a qualitative and quantitative approach.
One must also remember that there is no formal requirement for such communications and anyone can send a communication to the prosecutor, for instance, simply by writing a letter, or by sending an email or a fax. By 2013, a total of 10,470 such “communications” were received by the prosecutor. [now you are just copying other people's websites]
This is not, however, the first time that “communication” has deliberately been used against the Bangladesh government. For example, a similar complaint was filed against the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and four other members of her government, on January 31, 2012 by some pro-Jamaat expatriate Bangladeshis residing in Britain.
On June 27, 2013, another complaint was sent to the ICC by a US law firm on behalf of two virtually unknown US-based human rights organisation against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and 24 other members of her government for alleged “widespread human rights violations.”
Needless to say, the prosecutor of ICC has still found no “reasonable basis” to proceed any further than the initial complaint in all of these instances. And most likely, the same fate will befall the complaint made on February 4 as well. [That would be convenient for you, personally I don't sit in wait for deliver by white structures of power]
However, whatever the outcome, one thing is certain already; any such complaint is in itself bad publicity for the state in question. Something the complainants are well aware and taking full advantage of. [the saving face defence, now this is getting surreal]
However, what these “complainants” are failing to see is that their quest of causing embarrassment to the Bangladesh government [ you are an embarrassment bro argh] by way of vexatious complaints to the ICC, is only succeeding in permanently tarnishing the image of the entire nation in front of the world stage. [Padma Bridge, Rana Plaza, Share market scam, Baroness Pola Uddin, peacekeepers and civil society internationally renowned as liars, indeed it takes great deeds to develop self esteem, which we readily piss away at the faintest sniff of power]
Additionally, they are forgetting that their conduct is tantamount to abuse of an important international judicial mechanism. [perhaps thousands of dead people, and definitely more than a thousand families would beg to differ Shah Ali Farhad, they fear to speak up for fear of recrimination]