War crimes tribunal judge calls for probe into Skypegate
December 18 2012 10:00 PM
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The building that houses Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal-1 in Dhaka.
The building that houses Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal-1 in Dhaka.

 

The chairman of the reconstituted Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday asked the government to find out those behind hacking the Skype conversations between his predecessor Justice M Nizamul Huq and a Brussels-based Bangladeshi origin lawyer.

Justice Fazle Kabir said the government should investigate into the hacking, perpetrated to hinder the ongoing war crimes trial process and make it questionable.

“The government should also take measures to stop the controversy over the leakage of the Skype conversations through newspapers,”
observed Justice Kabir.

He was speaking at a felicitation function organised in his honour.

Justice Kabir observed that the hacking constituted a breach of his predecessor’s privacy and subsequent publication of transcripts of the alleged conversation was done to delay the trial process.

Justice Kabir is one of the first judges of the tribunal, which was set up on March 25, 2010 to try the crimes against humanity during the 1971
Liberation War.

He was appointed to the tribunal along with its former chairman Justice M Nizamul Huq and Justice Zaheer Ahmed. Justice Huq resigned on December 11 in the wake of a controversy over his alleged conversation and e-mails to Brussels-based lawyer Ahmed Ziaduddin.

The transcripts of the conversation were published in the daily Amar Desh, a Bangladesh Nationalist Party-leaning Bengali newspaper.

Justice Kabir noted that his predecessor, Justice Huq, had resigned to keep the trial process free of controversy. He said he expected all parties including the lawyers and the journalists for help to ensure a fair and expeditious trial.

Justice Kabir said it is imperative to keep the trial process transparent and accountable. “But in order to ensure the momentum and continue the process, the government should take immediate steps to find out who had hacked into Justice Huq’s email account and also recorded his alleged conversation. This, he said, was done with a motive to delay and question the trial process.

Justice Kabir had been moved to the second tribunal in March this year, but was asked to take charge of the first tribunal after Justice Huq’s resignation. Justice Obaidul Hassan has taken charge of the second tribunal. Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah has been inducted into the second tribunal as a judge.

In an article published last week, the London-based Economist said it had obtained 17 hours of recorded telephone conversations and seen more than 230 emails between Justice Huq and
Ziaduddin.

“These emails, if genuine, would indeed raise questions about the working of the court and we are bound to investigate them as fully as we can,” the publication said.

“We did not solicit the material, not pay for it, nor commit ourselves to publish it,” the Economist said.

“This material is confidential and we are bound by law and the British press code of conduct not to reveal such information except in matters of the most serious public
interest.”

The government for its part has accepted the resignation - arguing that it was necessary in the interests of transparency and neutrality.

 

 

 

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