[JURIST] Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid [BBC profile] on Monday signed into law the 16th Amendment to the nation’s Constitution [text] granting Parliament the ability to impeach Supreme Court [government websites] justices. The signing of the 16th Amendment has been condemned [BDNews24 report] by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] who had requested to President send the proposed bill back to Parliament for additional review. The BNP does not have any members in parliament after boycotting [Bloomberg report] elections in January. Under the new amendment, members of parliament will be able to remove justices for “incapability or misconduct.” The impeachment power for Parliament was originally included in the first Constitution of Bangladesh [text] adopted after achieving independence in 1972, but the power was removed under President Ziaur Rahman in 1975.
The President’s signing of the 16th Amendment comes less than a week after Parliament unanimously approved [JURIST report] the Amendment. Earlier this month the Bangladesh Supreme Court commuted [JURIST report] the death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami [party website] Vice President Delwar Hossain Sayedee, sentencing him to life behind bars for crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [Bangladesh News backgrounder] with Pakistan. Also this month Bangladesh officials approved [JURIST report] the Child Marriage Prevention Act of 2014, a law that sets a two year jail term for any person who marries a girl under the age of 18. At the beginning of September Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] announced [JURIST report] that the Bangladesh government should abolish a recently enacted policy that restricts the media’s freedom of expression.