Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bangladesh to Drop Hundreds of Politically Motivated Cases

The Daily Star reports that 411 more ‘political’ cases are to be dropped. While it is important that politically motivated cased be purged, let's hope the government takes a cue from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) fiasco in Pakistan and ensures that illegitimate cases are dismissed with proper due process so that they don't end up part of a vicious cycle of political prosecution.

Using the courts to intimidate political opponents is obviously unacceptable. Unfortunately, these things have a way of living beyond their years and popping up again once they become politically expedient. Again, Pakistan's current situation vis-a-vis the NRO is a perfect example of this.

Illegitimate cases should be purged through a truth and reconciliation process that brings together all political parties and interests and provides amnesty not only for the wrongfully accused, but the accusers as well. The goal of the process should be to identify lessons from the past and provide a path to move on from these mistakes, not seek revenge or sweep any misdeeds under the rug.

As Bangladesh continues to make democratic improvements, efforts must be made in a way that is sustainable for the long-term. This might mean slightly slower movement in some areas, but it will be worth it in the long term to create a path to moving beyond the past and cementing a more democratic future.

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