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Resolution adopted by consensus by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005) *

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Shah A.M.S. Kibria, a member of the parliament of Bangladesh assassinated in January 2005, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the Treatment by the IPU of Communications concerning Violations of the Human Rights of Members of Parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/177/11(a)-R.1),

Taking account of the hearing the Committee held with the Speaker of the National Parliament during the 113th Assembly,

Considering the following elements on file:

  • On 27 January 2005, Mr. Shah A.M.S. Kibria, a member of parliament of the opposition party Awami League, a former Finance Minister and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, addressed a meeting in his constituency in north-eastern Bangladesh. According to the sources, unlike at other meetings, there was no security at the meeting in question. According to the Speaker, neither he nor the Home Minister had been informed of the meeting, and security was always provided if requested;

  • As Mr. Kibria was leaving the meeting, grenades exploded, which instantly killed three persons and injured many others. Mr. Kibria was severely injured. According to the sources, he died after a four-hour journey in an ill-equipped ambulance on the road to Dhaka. Despite appeals to the Government to send a helicopter to take him to Dhaka for medical treatment, no such assistance was provided. According to the Speaker, Mr. Kibria was taken to the local hospital, but his party colleagues, against the advice of the doctors, did not want to leave him there. Had the Government known of the attack it would have provided a helicopter. Moreover, the Speaker stated, it took place around midnight, and during the night helicopter travel was difficult. According to his account, the Government offered a helicopter to return the body;

  • While the sources affirm that neither the Speaker nor any government minister attended the funeral services or sent any message of condolence to Mr. Kibria's family, the Speaker stated that not only did he, the President and the Prime Minister as well as other government officials send letters of condolence, but that the parliament adopted a resolution on the attack the day after Mr. Kibria's death. The Speaker emphasized that he had personally requested to see the body and to arrange for the appropriate prayer ceremonies to take place, but that the leader of the opposition did not allow Mr. Kibria's body to be brought for the prayer, and the family did not permit him to see the body;

  • Two cases, a murder case under the Penal Code of Bangladesh and an explosives case under the Explosive Substance Act, were filed; in both cases, the police investigation has been closed. In the murder case, on 19 April 2005, 10 persons were charged, all of them active, low-ranking members of the ruling BNP-Jamaat (Bangladesh Nationalist Party - Jamaat-I-Islami), 8 of whom were arrested, while 2 absconded. With respect to the explosives case, an appeal for further investigation, in particular into the origin of the grenades, was dismissed, and the case was sent to the competent tribunal for trial;

  • On 30 April and 4 May 2005, the lawyer for the family of Mr. Kibria (the plaintiff) lodged appeals against the decision of the courts to close the investigation in the murder case. The appeals were dismissed. An application before the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh was subsequently filed, and further proceedings were later temporarily stayed. The Supreme Court will reportedly hear the application for further investigation on 18 and 19 October 2005;

  • The sources affirm that the investigation is incomplete, in particular since it has failed to identify the source of the explosives used in the attack, to track the funding for the attack and to ascertain how those who threw the grenades received the necessary training. Moreover, two suspects possibly able to provide information are still on the run,
Noting in this respect that, according to the sources, there have been more than 30 bomb and grenade attacks in Bangladesh since 2001, and that in most of these cases investigations have been stalled or the cases have not been brought to court at all, but that according to the Speaker the Government has made every effort to shed light on those attacks, which occur not only in Bangladesh but also in other countries, and more than 500 people have been arrested, and some extremists brought to trial,

Noting lastly that the Speaker has said that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol have visited the place of the attack, but that he does not know whether they drew up any reports,

  1. Thanks the Speaker for the information he provided;

  2. Expresses deep concern at the murder of Shah A.M.S. Kibria; is deeply disturbed at the different information provided by the authorities and the sources as to the Government's willingness to provide help by making available a helicopter for his transport to Dhaka, as had such action been taken, it might have saved his life; finds it difficult to understand how the Government could have been unaware of the attack; and would appreciate receiving any clarification in this respect;

  3. Recalls that, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Bangladesh has pledged to respect the fundamental rights guaranteed therein, including the right to life, which comprises the duty of the State to carry out thorough and effective investigations to identify and bring to justice those responsible for a murder;

  4. Affirms therefore that the competent authorities have a duty to investigate any available lead permitting the full clarification of the circumstances of Mr. Kibria's murder; notes with concern that the courts have so far dismissed applications for further investigation despite the existence of clear leads; trusts that the Supreme Court will take full account of the arguments put forward by the plaintiff; and would appreciate being informed of the decision it takes in this respect;

  5. Affirms that the murder of a parliamentarian stands as a threat to the institution of parliament as such and, in the final analysis, to the people whom it represents, and that parliament therefore has an interest in availing itself of its oversight function to ensure that the competent authorities comply with their duty to carry out full and effective investigations to identify and prosecute those responsible, and thus to prevent any repetition of such crimes;

  6. Would be grateful to receive a copy of the resolution which the parliament adopted after Mr. Kibria's death;

  7. Notes that, according to the Speaker, at this stage the indictments issued in this case are not public documents, but may be obtained from the lawyer; and requests the Secretary General to seek them from him;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Speaker and the sources;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

    * The leader of the delegation of Bangladesh stated that the word "midnight" in the fourth preambular paragraph, line 15 should be changed to "late afternoon"; he objected to the mentioning of the party membership of the accused in lines 28 and 29, to the part of operative paragraph 2 starting with "is deeply disturbed", to the reference to the Supreme Court in operative paragraph 4, and to operative paragraph 9, and submitted that the Resolution was an abuse of parliamentary process, as it undermined the sanctity and independence of parliament and amounted to interference in the domestic affairs of Bangladesh and in the process of law and the dispensation of free and impartial justice.


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