• Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

6 new Cybercrime Tribunals to be set up to ease case backlog

  • Published at 07:29 pm March 31st, 2021
Cyber Security

Tribunals at all divisional headquarters except Barisal

The Bangladesh government is finally going to set up six new Cybercrime Tribunals to ease the backlog of cases at country’s only operational Cybercrime Tribunal in Dhaka

The new tribunals are being set up at the divisional headquarters of Rangpur, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Mymensingh. 

Sources from the tribunal said about 70% of the cases with the tribunal in Dhaka will be transferred once the new tribunals are operational. The Cybercrime Tribunal in Dhaka, which was formed in 2013, is currently dealing with 2,450 cases.

Shamim Al Mamun, bench officer of the Cybercrime Tribunal, said that the tribunal will start sending case dockets to the new tribunals soon.

“The court is informing the justice seekers and accused for the last two weeks about where their next hearings will be held,” he said.

The process of transferring the cases is set to begin on April 5.

Everybody happy with new tribunals

Advocate Nazrul Islam Shamim, special public prosecutor of the Cyber Tribunal, told Dhaka Tribune the new tribunals would ease trial proceedings for both justice seekers and the accused.

“Justice seekers as well as the accused and their families needed to travel to Dhaka. This costs money and a lot of time. Not all justice seekers can afford that,” he said. 

Many justice seekers stopped pursuing cases and contacting lawyers because of issues with repeatedly travelling to Dhaka, he added.

“The accused also face issues, such as with finding lawyers. If a case that was filed in Jessore is transferred to Dhaka, then the accused and their families are unlikely to be familiar with the capital enough to know where they can find good lawyers,” Nazrul said, hoping cases can now be disposed of quickly.

Md Anisur Rahman, a complainant from Thakurgaon, said he was delighted with the introduction of the new tribunals.

“I will be able to attend a hearing and return home the same day now,” he said.

Shrabonty Datta, a complainant from Benapole, said: “This will make it much easier to attend hearings.”

Chittaranjan Ray, an accused from Dinajpur, said: “This is an excellent change. It made no sense for everyone to have to go to Dhaka for the tribunal.”

Caseload in the thousands

The Cybercrime Tribunal in Dhaka has been struggling to deal with a case load that has been rising sharply over the past few years and is now in the thousands. In 2021, as many as 447 new cases from across the country were filed with the tribunal in the first two months alone, amounting to about five cases each day.

Over a thousand cases were filed in 2020, a year that saw a rising number of cases and arrests under the draconian Digital Security Act (DSA).

The ICT Act was formulated alongside the formation of the tribunal in 2013. It was revised into the DSA in 2018.

The tribunal has so far managed to deliver judgments in 135 cases only.

The trial process has been hampered as investigating officers, witnesses, complainants and accused all must travel to the capital. Witnesses are often reluctant to bear the expenses of travel and accommodation, while the accused and complainants must also find lawyers in a city that may be unfamiliar to them.

Lawyers in Dhaka also tend to charge more.

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