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Bangladesh Supreme Court finds two ministers guilty of contempt

[JURIST] The Bangladesh Supreme Court [official website] on Sunday found two ministers guilty of contempt after they had publicly criticized the chief justice of the court. The two ministers, Food Affairs Minister Qamrul Islam and Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq,had criticized [Daily Mail report] Chief Justice Sk Sinha earlier this month, making derogatory comments and demanding he remove himself from an appeals case involving an Islamist leader sentenced to death [JURIST report] after the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. The two ministers were fined [Indian Express report] 50,000 taka (USD $625) each and their position in the Cabinet is now in doubt.

The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website], established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text], is charged with investigating and prosecuting war crimes committed during the 1971 conflict. Rights groups such as Amnesty International have criticized [JURIST report] death sentences imposed by the ICTB, stating that trials of war criminals have, in the past, "failed to meet international standards." In June a Bangladeshi court gave Syed Mohammed Hasan Ali, a fugitive commander of an auxiliary force of Pakistani troops, a death sentence [JURIST report] for torture and massacre in the Liberation War. Last April a Bangladeshi appeals court rejected [JURIST report] a final appeal by Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, an Islamist party official convicted of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation war, upholding his death sentence.

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