Dhaka: A landmark amendment that will allow the prosecution to try and punish any individuals and organisations, including the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, for the 1971 war crimes received assent from the Bangladeshi President.
    
"He (President Zillur Rahman) signed the bill into law... assenting the International Crimes Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2013," a Bangabhaban Presidential palace spokesman told.
    
The presidential assent came as the parliament last night passed the bill empowering the special tribunals to try organisations alongside individuals for "crimes against humanity" during the country 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
    
Before the amendment, the 1973 war crimes law allowed only the convicts to appeal against any conviction.
    
The government brought the changes to the law in the wake of the ongoing mass movement at Shahbagh in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
    
Law ministry officials said the changes in the law, which also empowered the prosecution to file appeal against the verdict before the apex Appellate Division like the defence, would have retrospective effect from July 14, 2009.
    
The move could pave the way for banning Jamaat, the country's largest Islamic party.
    
The development came amid intensified demands for banning the extreme right-wing party which was opposed to the country's independence. The top leaders of Jamaat were now being tried on charges of war crimes like mass killing, arsons, rapes and tortures siding with the occupation troops.

(Agencies)

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