Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Bangladesh

Delivered in Plenary - 14th March 2013

Mr President

When I was in Dhaka five years ago I visited the national Liberation War Museum and saw first hand the documented evidence of the atrocities carried out during the 1971 war of independence. These were mainly perpetrated on minorities, particularly the Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, who were deemed by virtue of their religion not to be loyal to Pakistan.

Four decades have passed and to date there has been almost total impunity for the war criminals responsible. It is therefore entirely justified that they should finally be brought to justice, within a framework of due process and recognised legal safeguards.

For crimes of such a magnitude no statute of limitation should ever apply. It is also extremely unreasonable to ask the Bangladeshis to try them abroad outside of their own jurisdiction.

We, therefore, in the ECR Group, condemn the recent violence inspired by the Jamaat-e-Islami party and call for restraint on all sides. We must offer the Bangladeshi Government all the support we can to ensure that law and order is restored promptly, and hope that the verdicts of these trials will bring closure to this terribly painful period of Bangladeshi history.