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What lessons may be learnt from the operation of the ICT-BD in the areas of international criminal law and transitional justice?

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posted on 2023-08-30, 18:44 authored by Sajib Hosen
This thesis considers delayed prosecutions in the context of transitional justice and the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. In response to the atrocities committed in that conflict, Bangladesh government set up a domestic tribunal after 39 years since the atrocities were committed, called the International Criminal Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICT-BD). The International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 is the governing Act of ICT-BD. The substantive crimes under the Act include War crimes, Genocide, Crimes against humanity, Crimes against peace and any other crimes under international law. The thesis primarily considers the role and contribution of the ICT-BD in international criminal Law (ICL) and transitional justice. The researcher adopted a qualitative legal analysis approach and employed a semi-structured interview technique to collect data from judges, lawyers and politicians who are involved with the ICT-BD. The ICT-BD seeks to undertake delayed prosecutions and achieve delayed justice for the victims of 1971 through a domestic judicial forum and at the same time created an avenue for the victims to come forward and seek justice. Initial findings of the research indicate that, as a domestic tribunal, the ICT-BD has several lessons to contribute to international criminal law in terms of its fight against the culture of impunity, delayed justice, its engagement with old evidence, witness protection, sentencing principles and other procedural and substantive law challenges. Despite many criticisms, the interviews undertaken indicated that the ICT-BD has been widely accepted by the interviewees in this study. As of July 2019, the Tribunal had delivered 38 judgments in less than 10 years of its existence. By delivering justice within a domestic, Bangladeshi context, the ICT-BD has several contributions to make to international criminal law. This thesis will analyse both its strengths and limitations in decreasing the culture of impunity in Bangladesh.



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