This is a revised version of a paper first presented in May 2013 in the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg University. Whereas the objective of the campaign against the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) did not change during these last two years, tactics became more sophisticated as they are no longer centred on the legitimacy of trying criminals but on the legitimacy of the Bangladeshi legal framework that, quite similarly to those addressing Nazi atrocities during Second World War, forbids revisionism of atrocities in the Bangladesh case.
Whereas the technical intricacies of the issues involved remain certainly a fertile ground for interesting law expert debates, this paper continues to concentrate on the politics behind the debates.
The European legal framework that criminalises Nazi revisionism has most probably inspired Bangladeshi judicial authorities own initiative. It certainly did inspire the Bangladesh genocide revisionists as well, as their arguments mimic Nazi revisionist ones in the West.
We do consider very significant, however, the complete contradictory positions of these Western human rights associations that stand on the opposite side of the argument on the legal framework regarding revisionism in the West and in Bangladesh without any justification based on principles.
The double standards of these associations are unacceptable! They make ever more necessary the complete disclosure of the financial sources and an effective end to conflicts of interests in all those organisations that claim to act on the sole basis of human rights criteria.
The long silence held by most of the international public and supranational entities on the plight for justice to those who lost their lives in the 1971 genocide was unexpectedly in stark contrast to the uproar on the aftermath of the Bangladeshi authorities’ announcement of the re-establishment of criminal court procedures against genocide perpetrators.
Foreign heads states, the press, diplomats and even associations that purportedly defend human rights have reacted negatively to the resumption of the Bangladeshi criminal court procedures. Discrediting the role of certain judges as well as claims of partisan bias, formal insufficiencies with procedures and press campaigns shows the observer that the entire portfolio of arguments and manoeuvres is being used to torpedo the trials.
These arguments on the international scenes sparked widespread violence in Bangladesh that brought instability and resulted in the plundering of minority communities and demands of radical changes to the secular constitution of the country.
Two years after the resumption of the trails in Bangladesh, the same Western actors do not seem at all concerned regarding the clear message sent by the ICT that impunity is not an option and are now concentrated on the Bangladeshi anti-revisionist legal framework.
What is the role of memory in justice? How should we evaluate proportionality? How can we find a balance between moral absolutism and relativism? Should we consider victims from South Asia less important than those of other regions? Should we consider religious fanaticism more acceptable than extreme nationalism, racism or any other misanthropic ideology?
- On time
The Portuguese Parliament recently approved a law which makes the Portuguese State accountable for atrocities committed during the expulsion of Jews – the first wave of extradition dates back to1497 – by giving Portuguese nationality to those who are able to provide credible evidence that their ancestors were subject to forced displacement.
The genocide of Jews in Portugal is one of the worse crimes ever committed against humanity by the Portuguese authorities on Portuguese soil, and was accompanied by a general set of rules and practices geared through a religious fanatic ideology.
And so should we consider the Portuguese law irrelevant or outdated? Should we consider five hundred years to be too long a time? It certainly is an extremely long time to contemplate what the knowledge of Portuguese history combined with basic principles of civilisation should have imposed long ago; it certainly is an act that, however late, however unable to undo the vast pain and sorrow caused, the vast majority of the Portuguese public and most parties of the political spectrum, consider a necessary step towards reconciliation.
Apart from the small fringe of Nazi revisionists gathered in the non-parliamentary “Frente Nacional”, no one contested this act in Portugal.
The Portuguese history of intolerance and religious fanaticism is unfortunately able to fill several chapters and books and it will take a long time to achieve forgiveness and redemption from the oppressed and persecuted. Victims did not only include Jews, but also other confessions, even within the Christian faith, and in particular those Catholics whose views were considered impure or heretic.
Only by the end of the eighteen century did Portugal authorise the legal burial of non-Catholics (prior to that, they were buried illegally or dumped somewhere) in a special cemetery, surrounded by high walls and cypress, so the good catholic would not be shocked by such a view. The cemetery where my parents rest which is located in the vicinity of my birthplace, it is still known as the British cemetery. The cemetery has evolved from an exclusive arena to an inclusive place where the members of different confessions can mourn their loved ones side by side
It is highly unlikely that a significant number of the descendants of these victims will ever decide to demand the Portuguese nationality, but I do think that this act has a fundamental symbolic importance.
One of the most reputed Portuguese scientists of the sixteen century, Garcia da Orta, had his bones exhumed in Goa (India) and burned. Fortunately, the Inquisition did not get to him on time to burn him alive, as it did to his sister and so many others .Still, others were fortunate enough to live in peace abroad, bestowing their descendants with the fruits of their scientific and humanistic labour, like Bento de Espinoza or David Ricardo.
And even more than 500 years after these dark episodes of Portuguese history none of this can be forgotten, none of this can be hidden, none of this can be brushed aside as something merely “political”, none of this can be taken lightly, none of this can be seen as outdated or “passé”.
And now it is time to look to another part of the world, the part that brought us together in Heidelberg in May 2013, to events that do not date back over 500 hundred years, but only slightly more than40 years. According to the Dictionary of Genocide and to most of the literature I read; the genocide in Bangladesh, claimed 3million lives. How can we remain silent when confronted with these horrendous numbers? Should we restrain ourselves from voicing our concerns since “this is just politics”?
- The genocide recognition process
The modern history of the concept of genocide starts in the thirties of last century and was inspired by the Simele massacre of August 1933; the massacre of the Christian population of the Nineveh plains which were accused of secessionism from the new Iraqi state. It was however first applied, in retrospect to the Armenian genocide.
The Simele massacre (in Assyrian, Premta d-Simele) was the first of many massacres committed by the Iraqi authorities during the systematic targeting of Assyrian Christians of Northern Iraq in August of 1933.
The most striking feature of this massacre was the fact that it directly motivated Rafal Lemkin in his lecture to the Legal Council of the League of Nations conference on International Law in Madrid titled “The Crime of barbarity as a crime against international law”.
This lecture is widely recognised as the precursor of the concept of genocide, which was to become the central piece of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.
The Simele massacre targeted an Assyrian population that was trying to regain Iraqi soil from Syria – where it was not welcome – and that, in most cases, escaped from Iranian and Turkish territory at the end of the First World War and resettled in the newly created country of Iraq.
The genocide of Christian Armenian, Assyrian-Chaldean and Greek populations at the end of the First World War and immediately afterwards, would actually become the first well-known “modern” genocide in the history of mankind and is directly connected with the 1933 genocide committed in Iraq against Assyrians (theme of a famous book by Lieutenant Colonel R. S. Stafford, the British Administrative Inspector for the Province, “The tragedy of Assyrians”.
Lemkin himself, from the position of Public Prosecutor for the district court of Warsaw that allowed him to launch the basis of the international attack on genocide, had to escape from the Holocaust as a Polish Jew, managing to flee to the US and to restart his work.
Lemkin redefined “Barbarity” into “Genocide” in the course of the holocaust. While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group’s conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
An examination of the preparatory works of the Convention reveals that the exclusion of “political groups” from the definition was not circumstantial but, after a protracted debate, the drafters of the Genocide Convention expressly excluded “political groups” from Article 2, a compromise that has been the source of intense debate since then.
The Genocide Convention of 1948 easily condemned the genocide crimes of defeated Nazi Germany, but it did not have the political strength to condemn the genocide crimes of the victorious Soviet Union (mostly perpetrated in the name of political principles), and therefore the compromise statement had to make this twist of excluding mass political executions from the definition of genocide. This would be viewed as absurd and impossible to understand if we were to disregard the crucial element of the relative balance of political power.
Legislation from political bodies – regardless of their level and responsibilities – always reflects a political equilibrium, and this is also the case with genocide, both in 1948and 1971, when most of the West turned a blind eye on the biggest genocide that took place after the Second World War thanks to the overwhelming direct and indirect political and financial clout of the Bangladeshi genocide perpetrators that are now on trial.
This state of affairs leads to different reactions from which we think two are the most important.
The first is to consider the original political compromise to be unacceptable and insubstantial. The Genocide Convention should in this view not to be considered the sole authority on the crime of genocide, but one of them. The prohibition of genocide should rather be seen as a paradigmatic jus cogens norm, a customary and peremptory norm of international law from which no derogation is permitted. The jus cogens prohibition of genocide, as expressed in a variety of sources, is therefore broader than the Convention’s prohibition.
The attempt of the framers of the Genocide Convention to limit the prohibition of genocide by deliberately excluding political groups from Article 2 is therefore seen without legal force to the extent that it is inconsistent with the jus cogens prohibition of genocide. Therefore, when faced with mass killings evidencing the intent to eradicate political groups in whole or in part, domestic and international adjudicatory bodies should apply the jus cogens prohibition of genocide and invoke the Genocide Convention vis-à-vis signatories only insofar as it provides practical procedures for enforcement and ratification.
This approach leaves the door open to questioning the whole written text as, one way or the other, it reflects political compromises and not only humanitarian concerns.
The second response to this situation is to consider “political genocide” as something different from genocide that should encompass a separate treatment, and therefore should be viewed as a crime of “politicide”. Some authors prefer “genocidal politicide” to distinguish it from other uses of the word “politicide”.
This second approach raises two questions: (1) if a politicide isdifferent from genocide, in which legal framework should it be considered? (2) Eventually all forms of politicide have a certain link with other forms of genocide, doesn’t this approach open the door to progressively “diluting” the concept of genocide itself?
The issue might be better understood under an historical perspective, and indeed, the case of the Nineveh plains Christian persecution exemplifies how we cannot separate political indicators from other criteria regarding genocide.
Some Middle East Christians, similarly to other minorities as the Jews, tried to negotiate with the Allied Forces, with the British in this case, their protection and survival through the creation of states that would succeed the end of the Caliphate. In this respect, the main difference between Israel and Nineveh was the capacity of the Jewish minority to resist that prevented the same sort of massacre that made the Christian communities nearly disappear from the whole region (Turkey, North-western Iran, North-eastern Syria and the broader Nineveh).
Although the political movement for an independent Nineveh based Christian state or at least autonomous region still exists, it became territorially nearly impossible, as Christians were concentrated in small pockets in wide areas dominated by non-Christian areas.
Other Middle East Christians thought that the best chances of survival were to bet on the separation of “Arab nationalism” and Islam, espousing therefore Arab nationalism in the hope of escaping persecution. This was, for instance, the strategy behind the establishment of the Baath Party created by a Christian in 1947.
The strategy broadly meant that Christians could only rely on political protection as long as they emphasised their Arab patriotism and shun from worshiping their single cultural, linguistic and religious roots.
This strategy, ultimately, did not work as it made the Christians fair game for the Islamists that took over Iraq from 2003 onwards on the grounds that Christians were Baathist accomplices. A similar fate is now under way in Syria as well, as the Islamists gained the upper hand in the Arab Spring movement of the country.
During the last ten years Christians have been ethnically cleansed from most of Iraq. In their traditional strongholds in Southern Iraq, as the city of Basra, where pro-Iranian militia had a free reign, according to personal testimonies, ethnic cleansing is nowadays nearly complete. In other cities like Mosul, Christians still existed up to the 2014 takeover by the Islamic State that expelled the remainder, but in a very limited proportion.
Christians in Iraq can only survive and live in relative freedom in Kurdistan or in areas under protection of Kurdish authorities, as is also the case with virtually all surviving minorities.
The example of Iraq is fundamental here to show how it is conceptually and practically impossible to make a distinction between genocide according to the religious, ethnic or political motivations, since in practical terms these motivations intermingle.
The consideration of politicide as something different from genocide also leads to the genocide denial promoters to emphasise the political aspect of a genocide so as to argue it should not be eligible for consideration as a genocide, but just as a politicide, or even as just a political struggle.
Another important issue regarding the genocide recognition process is somehow implied by the use by Lemkin of “Barbarism” before the Holocaust and “Genocide”. Up to what point can we consider genocide to have been a modern feature of humanity?
The masterpiece on genocide, “Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century; 1915 800.000 Armenians; 1939-1945 6 million Jews; 1971: 3 million Bangladeshis and 1972-1975 100.000 Hutus” famously stated “the word is new, the crime ancient” emphasising the implicit distinction within the transformation of the early Barbarity concept into the modern concept of genocide.
Essentially Kuper tells us that whereas “the essential structural base for genocide is the pluralistic society based on persistent and pervasive cleavages between its segments” and this is nothing new, “technological developments have made massacres more feasible”.
The Bangladesh genocide is quite well-known; the figures related to it were considerably consensual up to recent times; it is well-established and until recently no one was seriously contesting its validity. The opposition to its qualification as a “genocide” used to come from well-determined quarters, Pakistan – and its main political supporters, the US and China. However, the genocide denial has been becoming considerably more “en vogue” and widespread lately.
- Bangladesh genocide denial in present times
The criminal persecution of the perpetrators of the Bangladesh genocide was interrupted shortly after it began and was resumed only recently in 2010–initiating a vast movement of denial.
The new Court, although international, was set up by domestic law and was based on the 1973 Court proceedings. It only considered the domestic side of the genocide, that is, it excluded Pakistani nationals from its evaluation – whose crimes were supposed to be dealt with by the Pakistani authorities – and focussed exclusively on those of Bangladeshi citizenship.
This did not, however, diminish the genocide denial pressure, if anything it increased dramatically with strong international pressure being matched by increasingly violent actions from the genocide perpetrators.
There are three basic genocide denial arguments: (1) the aim of the Court is political, since those who stand accused are members of the political opposition; (2) the number of victims, the motivations for the genocide, the nature of the conflict, although previously well established and overwhelmingly accepted by the international community, are being portrayed as major sources of controversy; and (3) the number of years passed does not justify the continuation of the procedures.
The second and third lines of reasoning are typical of all genocide revisionist movements, and they do not differ from those we are accustomed to hear on behalf of the Holocaust perpetrators. However, the first argument is different.
The difference in arguments is the result of the difference in situations. In the case of the Holocaust, its perpetrators were denied a return to power, whereas in Bangladesh they did not only return to power but also founded a vast economic, social and financial empire in the country that includes banks, universities, companies and hospitals.
So this argument actually consists in turning the reality upside down: whereas the absence of proper procedures against the genocide perpetrators is the reason why they now have the leverage to escape further persecution, the argument inverts this sequence. As the genocide perpetrators remain powerful, any measure to investigate their past is seen as a “political measure against opposition”.
By extension, this argument also serves to “politicise” the procedure – a coded form of saying that the original “political” exception of 1948 stands – trying to blur the mainly religious fanatic moulding of the 1971 genocide.
This argument was supported in an overwhelming diplomatic campaign. Other than the direct pressure of states; a brutal publicity campaign was done through opposition friendly media and certain high-level associations.
The press campaign went as far as the use of sophisticated electronic hacking by “The Economist”; a highly influential British weekly whose editorial opinions normally mimic the views of the British Foreign Office views.
The hacking predated the outcry within public opinion regarding the recent major electronic communications hacking by British authorities. With the present revelations one understands how this sort of practice by the British authorities has been widespread.
Although with less aggressive means, many other influential public opinion makers and political leaders engaged directly or indirectly in a war of attrition geared at discouraging or blackening the whole effort for the implementation of justice in Bangladesh.
“Human Rights Watch”(HRW) – a private organisation that does not disclose the sources of its funding and does not reveal conflicts of interests of its responsible personnel – is the most clear example of a partisan campaign where an independent human rights checking was expected.
“Equality” and “proportionality” are two of the most basic principles of international customary law, and I believe they should lay at the heart of any appreciation of the way the International Criminal Court was established and acted in Bangladesh.
Many of the criticisms raised on the procedures followed by the Bangladeshi authorities are most likely warranted by themselves, the issue here is to appraise up to what point these criticisms respect these two general principles.
In the first press release publicising recommendations addressed by HRW to the newly elected Bangladeshi authorities in 2009, no direct mention is made to the Court issue but only a small reference on the need of amending legal provisions in the letter to the Bangladeshi authorities.
Shortly afterwards, in the context of a general report titled “Ignoring Executions and Torture Impunity for Bangladesh’s Security Forces” HRW, while rightfully criticising the long-existing culture of impunity on crimes against humanity in the country, introduces a paragraph that in practical terms contradicts the call to end impunity:
“In January 2009, the Bangladesh parliament adopted a resolution requesting the government to take immediate action “to try the war criminals. “In March, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed announced that the trials would be held under the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973. The Act does not require Bangladesh’s regular criminal procedure and evidence laws to be applied. This raises concerns that the trials may not meet international fair trial standards and may be subject to political influence. Death sentences may be handed down.”
HRW does not offer any argument which could explain this contradiction .How can it claim to be in favour of ending impunity while at the same time denouncing any measure directed towards ending impunity?
The only reason it gives for raising the issue of “politics” in the procedures is a declaration from the leader of the main opposition party, the BNP as quoted from a newspaper. It is quite extraordinary that HRW’s accusation of mixing politics with human rights is done on the sole basis of the declaration of a political leader; that is, HRW explicitly mixes human rights and politics and subsequently accuses others of doing so.
HRW made a first exclusive press release on the institution of the Bangladeshi International Criminal Court on the 8th of July 2009 that, while apparently congratulating the country for the act, gives clout to accusations on alleged failures to adapt the law to the evolution of international law. The chosen title of the press release clearly indicated what were HRW concerns and objectives: “Bangladesh: Upgrade War Crimes Law Failure to Meet International Standards Could Undermine Credibility of Trials for 1971 Atrocities”.
By this unjustified and unwarranted publicity, HRW downgraded the genocide crime into “1971 Atrocities”. The title also shows the other objective of the organisation: to argue with eventual failures of the process to undermine the credibility of the trials.
As it did in its first positioning in May 2009, HRW keeps referring in general terms to incongruence between international and Bangladeshi law, but fails to make explicit, for instance, what are the supposed contradictions of the genocide definition used by Bangladesh and international law.
From there onwards, we can easily follow HRW’s vast and ever more radical array of public positions and arguments against the International Court by reading the extensive propaganda made by the political forces behind those accused in the International Court.
HRW press releases afterwards became ever more frequent and politically biased. Whereas very little is said on the widespread terror actions targeting minorities by the defenders of those convicted for genocidea set of implausible and unchecked stories is publicised aimed at building an image of an “India/Bangladeshi conspiracy fabricating proofs against good Muslim leaders”.
Whoever followed HRW set of press releases in the last few years will find a sectarian and biased account of events with a clear political agenda set on attacking Bangladeshi authorities and whitewash Islamists standing accused of genocide crimes in the past and present.
That an organisation which was supposed to fight impunity and to act independently on behalf of human rights does exactly the opposite is perhaps the biggest drama of our present times.
Whereas the plight for memory and justice has been always a political battle – and the above mentioned Genocide Convention procedures show how political of issue genocide is – it is also a battle for values.
The Shabagh movement, politically independent and based on the Bangladeshi youth is proof that memory and justicewill resist time and will prove to be more powerful than any strategic political manoeuvring or any political development.
- The revisionist controversy
In one of the most typical revisionist writings, Joseph Sobran argues:
“Why on earth is it “anti-Jewish” to conclude from the evidence that the standard numbers of Jews murdered are inaccurate, or that the Hitler regime, bad as it was in many ways, was not, in fact, intent on racial extermination?”
The jurisprudence on Nazi revisionism does indeed revolve around these issues: what were the real figures involved in the Holocaust and its real motivations, which are the easiest ways to start a crime denial campaign.
The Bangladeshi genocide revisionism copies exactly the same arguments and logic: it purports the figures taken by the judicial authorities as exaggerated and it questions the genocide motivations, transforming it from an ideologically driven genocideinto a partisan dispute between the Awami League and the Pakistani authorities.
HRW has been the most vocal defender of revisionism on the numbers and motives of the Bangladeshi genocide as pure “free speech”: “These are the kinds of complex factual and legal issues which war crimes tribunals around the world have to grapple with”
Quite surprisingly, however, HRW stands exactly for the opposite when it comes to Nazi revisionism. As recently as September 2014, HRW expressed its satisfaction for the establishment of anti-revisionist legislation in Greece.
Article 2 of the Greek law explicitly criminalises the trivialisation of the holocaust in a way that resembles the Bangladeshi jurisprudence.
We could argue that these completely contradictory positions of HRW taken simultaneously could be explained by any factual reasoning regarding the figures or the motivation behind both historical genocides. This is however not the case!
HRW stands for the freedom of revisionism on the Bangladeshi genocide for the very same reason it has stood against all measures that would target Bangladesh genocide perpetrators. This latest episode does not change the nature of the discussion.
 Dictionary of Genocide [Two Volumes] By SAMUEL TOTTEN, PAUL BARTROP, Greenwood Publishers, 2008
« A Green Ray over Iraq, tolerance, peace and democracy in Iraq – what role for the international community? », New Jersey, USA, 2010. Report Commissioned by the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace and edited by Paulo Casaca, Kamal Batal and Jamila Abu Shanab, three of the founders of ARCHumankind, an association which is member of SADF.
A. Dirk Moses, RAPHAEL LEMKIN, CULTURE, AND THE CONCEPT OF GENOCIDE,http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/13/9780199232116.pdfLemkin used at the time the term of Barbarity, only in 1944 did he propose the use of genocide.
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) in FUNK, T. Marcus (2010). Victims’ Rights and Advocacy at the International Criminal Court. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
SeeDifferent Types of Genocides and Politicides,http://clg.portalxm.com/library/print.cfm?format=pdf&page_title=KeyText%3A%20Different%20Types%20of%20Genocides%20and%20Politicides&path=%2Flibrary%2Fkeytext.cfm%3Fprint%3D1%26format_tables%3D0%26keytext_id%3D193. Ted R. Gurr uses the term politicide to describe the killing of groups of people who are targeted not because of shared ethnic or communal traits (the types of groups covered by the CPPCG), but because of “their hierarchical position or political opposition to the regime and dominant groups”. (Origins and Evolution of the Concept in the Science Encyclopaedia by Net Industries states “Politicide, as [Barbara] Harff and [Ted R.] Gurr define it, refers to the killing of groups of people who are targeted not because of shared ethnic or communal traits, but because of ‘their hierarchical position or political opposition to the regime and dominant groups’”)
I leave here aside the Lebanese Christians, still those of the region that better managed to survive. As we know, the creation of Lebanon was also primarily thought as a way to preserve a Christian minority. The history of the two main Christian pockets in the region is common up to a point, but for our present purposes can be dealt with separately.
 See Michel Aflaq in Encyclopaedia Britannica:http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/7862/Michel-Aflaq
In the case of Iraq, both the US/Iran supported Shia Islamists that occupy the Government and rival Sunni Islamists were directly supported to various degrees by Islamist states and forces of the region targeted Christians along with other small ethno-religious minorities of the country.
I develop considerably this appraisal in the above mentioned report “A Green Ray over Iraq”. Notwithstanding, several people complained publicly, including to me, on patronising attitudes from some Kurdish parties, whereas either you accept to follow their political rules or you may not find jobs, housing and so forth. However, in comparison with the rest of Iraq, I have no doubts to say that the situation of all minorities is incommensurably better in Iraqi Kurdistan than elsewhere in the region, and I am witness to the ethical and humanitarian standards of the Kurdish military and police forces that are quite different from the national Iraqi ones.
Without prejudice, this is not always the case. The Iranian genocide or politicide of 1988 that caused at least 30.000 victims targeted mainly political opponents, the majority, but not the whole of them members of the main opposition organisation, the PMOI. But even here, considering the genocide was decreed as a religious fatwa and the crime allegation was to wage war against God, we can also see how these different angles of genocide get together.
 Leo Kuper, Yale University Press, 1982 – History, consulted only through critical appreciations available in the web.
See my article“Bangladesh: Genocide in the name of religion”, The 13th of February 2013:http://sadf.eu/home/2013/02/13/bangladesh-genocide-in-the-name-of-religion/
Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal blog, the 7th of December 2012:http://bangladeshwarcrimes.blogspot.be/2012/12/tribunal-accuses-economist-over-e-mail.html
Human Rights Watch, “Letter to PM Sheikh Hasina with Recommendations to Improve Human Rights in Bangladesh”, the 29th of January 2009:http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/01/29/letter-pm-sheikh-hasina-recommendations-improve-human-rights-bangladesh The letter referred to in the press release addresses the issue in circumspect terms: “Human Rights Watch urges the government and parliament to change existing law to:Initiate a process, in accordance with stated intentions, for bringing to trial those responsible for war crimes such as acts of murder, rape and wanton destruction and pillage of civilian property, in connection with the 1971-war.”
Human Rights Watch,“Ignoring Executions and Torture: Impunity for Bangladesh’s Security Forces”, May 2009:http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/bangladesh0509web.pdf
 16 International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, sec. 23; 17 “Politics must not influence trial,” Daily Star, March 27, 2009, http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/newsdetails.php?nid=81538 (accessed March 27, 2009); 18 International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, sec. 20 (2).
See for instance Before It’s News, “Protest by Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council in front of the White House to protest against the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh”, the 13 of April 2013 http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2013/04/protest-by-bangladesh-hindu-buddhist-christian-unity-council-in-front-of-the-white-house-to-protest-against-the-persecution-of-minorities-in-bangladesh-2618924.htmland Human Rights Watch, “India: Protect Bangladesh War Crimes Trial Witness”, the 16th of May 2013: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/05/16/india-protect-bangladesh-war-crimes-trial-witness
I reached the same conclusions regarding the actions of HRW on Iraq in my book (Casaca, Paulo, “A Outra Invasao do Iraque”, Editorial Presenca, 2009 – also available in English) and further reporting already quoted.
Human Rights Watch describes the movement as an outfit of the authorities: “Government officials, members of the ruling Awami League party, and segments of the public reacted with outrage that Mollah was not sentenced to death. Large crowds assembled in the Shahbag area of Dhaka demanding the death penalty.” In Human Rights Watch, “Bangladesh: Post-Trial Amendments Taint War Crimes Process”, the 14th of February 2013,http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/14/bangladesh-post-trial-amendments-taint-war-crimes-process
This description, however, is denied by independent sources.
I also think it seriously distorts reality to paint the movement as a death penalty one. It is a movement for justice for the genocide rather than anything else.
Institute for Historical Review, “For Fear of The Jews”, http://www.ihr.org/conference/14thconf/sobranconf.html
Human Rights Watch, “Bangladesh: Conviction of Journalist Chills Speech”, the 5th of December 2014, http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/05/bangladesh-conviction-journalist-chills-speech
The Jewish Daily Forward, “Greece Passes Bill Making Holocaust-Denial Illegal, Tougher Anti-Racism Laws”, the 9th of September 2014: http://forward.com/articles/205395/greece-passes-bill-making-holocaust-denial-illegal/
Amendment of law 927/1979 (A’ 139) and adjustment of the law to the Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (L 328) and other provisions