Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP), established in 1999, is a voluntary, non-profitable, non-political, non-governmental human rights education, research and training organization dedicated to the common people of Bangladesh. ELCOP is embracing communities for democracy, justice and empowerment through action and participation. This organization was founded by eminent Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman who is a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. This year the 1st ELCOP Signature Lecture was held in Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury Auditorium, Social Science Building, University of Dhaka. The lecture was on a very important topic titled, “Bangladesh Genocide 1971: International Recognition”. It was delivered by an Eminent Professor of the country, Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman. Honorable Chief Justice of Bangladesh Syed Mahmud Hussain graced the programme as the Chief Guest of the occasion. Advocate Zead-Al-Malum, Prosecutor (Admin), International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh was present there as the special guest of the occasion. Eminent Political Economist of the country, Professor Dr. Abul Barkat, Chairman, Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhala was present there as the discussant of the lecture. Chair of the programme was Barrister Tapos Kanti Baul, Executive Director, ELCOP. Guests from different sectors of the country and students of different universities attended the lecture.
The programme started with the welcome speech by Barrister Tapos Kanti Baul and receiving guests with flower bouquet by the students. Then Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, the key note speaker, delivered his well-organized lecture in front of the audience. He expressed his grief and our grief as a nation that still due to lack of legal literature, the genocide of 1971 committed by the Pakistani Military Janta has not yet received international recognition. He discussed some important legal literature of some domestic and international jurisdictions to hold the criminals accountable for the genocide. He mentioned a court without boundary where a criminal of genocide can and should be tried in any court of any country at any time. And he urged everybody to take any necessary steps in this cause.
After the speech of Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, the discussant of the programme Professor Dr. Abul Barkat shared his critical review of the paper. He praised Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman for taking the very first step in this issue and also focused on some statistics of the war crimes committed by the Pakistani Military Janta in 1971. He mentioned the situation and scopes of Bangladesh economy in the international sphere and urged the government bodies to take necessary steps to pave the way of development to the working class people of Bangladesh.
The special guest of the programme was Advocate Zead-Al-Malum, Prosecutor (Admin), International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh. He shared his experiences and obstacles in the tribunal while prosecuting the war criminals like Motiur Rahman Nizami, Kamruzzaman and others. He expressed his deep feeling of that time in 1971 where he and Professor Dr. Abul Barkat were the freedom fighters and on what principle and inspiration they followed.
Finally the Honorable Chief Justice of Bangladesh Syed Mahmud Hossain gave his speech on the programme. He discussed some phenomenon of Bangladesh judiciary and thanked Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman for bringing up this important issue in front of everyone. He also answered some questions that were raised by Professor Dr. Abul Barkat.
Finally at the end of the programme the guests were honored with token of love and gratitude by the Executive Director of ELCOP, Barrister Tapos Kanti Baul and Chairman of ELCOP, Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman.
We hope to see the international community respond to our urge very soon because it is not just a question of law, rather it is as Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman states, “A question of International Morality.”
Parag Pasha, a 3rd year student at the Department of Law, University of Dhaka covered this event.