MonitorsPublished on Sep 13, 2009
The Sri Lankan government is establishing special courts to clear the backlog of cases against former LTTE combatants, who either surrendered or were captured by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
South Asia Weekly Report 89
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka to establish special courts to try LTTE member

The Sri Lankan government is establishing special courts to clear the backlog of cases against former LTTE combatants, who either surrendered or were captured by the Sri Lankan armed forces. The permission to set up special courts was given last week by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Over 20,000 LTTE members had surrendered to the government following the liberation of the Northern Province. In addition, there are several hundreds against whom terror-related cases are pending. It was only last month that the government decided to make it mandatory for all investigations by the police into “grave crimes” to be referred to the Attorney General’s Department for “direction and guidance” to overcome lapses that may allow culprits to go unpunished.


Government promises speedy trial of BDR mutineers

The Bangladesh has decided to carry out a speedy trial of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutineers. The charge sheet will be filed in October and the trial will begin in November. Crimes like murder, attempt to murder, looting and arson committed by BDR personnel during the BDR mutiny of February 2009 will be tried under the penal code. Other offenses like breaking of discipline and violating the orders of superiors during the mutiny will be tried under BDR law. This decision of the government followed after the Supreme Court’s advice against trying the BDR rebels under martial law. Looking at the gravity of the crime, the army was urging the government to try the BDR rebels under martial law as they felt that trial under the BDR law will be inadequate to deliver proper punishment. Maximum punishment under BDR law is seven years of imprisonment.  In February 2009, BDR soldiers staged a mutiny across the country. This led to killing of 57 army officers, who were posted on deputation.


Maldives seeks to strengthen ties with Israel

Maldives has decided to strengthen its diplomatic ties with Israel. The relationship deteriorated after Maldives joined the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Israeli embassy closed down its shutters. None of the main donors to Maldives -- Saudi Arabia, and Egypt – have raised any objections to the plan to revitalise the ties with Israel.. It is to be noted that trade relations between the two countries existed from 1993 and Israel was the first country to send a representative soon after Maldives became a member of the United Nations in 1965.


Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed booked under anti-terror law

The Punjab police on Thursday (September 17) registered two cases against Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud Dawa, for making provocative speeches and collecting funds to support terrorism. On August 26 and 27, Saeed made speeches in Faisalabad urging his followers to participate and contribute to ‘jihad’. Unconfirmed media reports suggest that late on Sunday (September 20) night, Saeed was placed under house arrest, ostensibly to prevent him from leading Eid prayers the following day. The cases are not related to the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 for which Pakistan maintains that it has not found evidence to implicate Saeed. Both the cases have been made out under Section 11 F (4) of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, which is more stringent than the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance under which Hafiz Saeed was charged last year following the Mumbai attack.  Saeed’s arrest is timed just ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, meetings between Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan, and the meeting of Friends of Democratic Pakistan. Irrespective of the timing, Saeed’s arrest is a significant development and betrays a sign of Pakistan’s phased withdrawal of support to terrorist groups. However, whether the move signifies a tactical move in order to put greater focus on the insurgency in the tribal areas or rather, embraces a more strategic abandonment of the use of terrorism as state policy is a matter of debate among experts in both India and Pakistan.


Anjali Sharma - Sri Lanka, Maldives

Joyeeta Bhattacharjee - Bangladesh

Kaustav Dhar Chakraborti - Pakistan

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