Co-Chairs Urge Stay of Execution in Bangladesh Case for Lack of Due Process
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On November 16, 2015, as Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, we joined respected international observers in expressing serious concerns over death penalty convictions handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) of Bangladesh, due to irregularities that raised due process issues and led to doubts about the fairness of the trials.
At that time, the cases in question were those of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid. On November 22, 2015 both were executed. Now there is another case, that of Motiur Rahman Nizami, accused by the ICT of crimes including genocide, and also sentenced to death.
There can be no doubt that victims and survivors of the atrocities committed during the 1971 war for independence have a right to justice, just as there can be no doubt that States are obligated to ensure due process and guarantee fair trials, even for the worst perpetrators. The stakes are highest in death penalty cases because no redress is available after the fact.
We thus reiterate our call–shared by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and international human rights observers–to Bangladeshi authorities to proceed in accordance with international law and standards of due process and fair trials, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bangladesh is a State Party, and halt any executions that fail these standards.