(Dec. 15, 2008) A Truth and Accountability Commission (TAC) formed by the Interim Government of Bangladesh has been declared illegal under the Bangladesh Constitution by the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. The TAC was formed on July 30, 2008, under an ordinance promulgated on June 8 to expedite corruption cases. On August 25, a group of Supreme Court lawyers, political parties, and members of a public interest group filed a petition at the High Court challenging the legality of the TAC. The petitioners argued that the ordinance is illegal because under the Bangladesh Constitution, only the courts have jurisdiction to try cases and mete out penalties to criminal offenders, and because the TAC was established under the executive branch, it lacks such jurisdiction.
After the submission of the petition, the High Court had ordered the Government to explain why the ordinance should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional. Following a week-long hearing, on November 13, 2008, the High Court declared that the TAC and all its decisions were illegal. (Truth Commission Not Legal, THE DAILY STAR, Nov. 14, 2008, available at http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=63260.)