Sanctions on RAB: Bangladesh to appoint lawyers in the US

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin MomenUNB

Bangladesh will appoint certified lawyers in the United States to pursue the withdrawal of sanctions imposed on the elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

“We’re in the process of appointing legal assistance in the US,” Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said this week, noting that it is a legal process, not an administrative one.

As Bangladeshi lawyers cannot take up the job, it will have to be performed by the certified lawyers in the US, he said, adding that some initial legal steps have been taken already.

The foreign secretary said the process is different in dealing with the sanctions on individuals and RAB as an institution.

He recently visited the United States and accompanied Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US State Department on 4 April.

Masud also led the Bangladesh delegation at the 8th Bangladesh-US Security Dialogue held in Washington.

Bangladesh sought resumption of training and capacity building programmes for its law enforcement agencies in any format.

Since RAB is facing sanctions, Bangladesh placed an alternative proposal to include police, BGB and judicial magistrates for capacity building training in the US.

During his meeting with Foreign Minister Abdul Momen, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recognised the elite force RAB’s important counterterrorism role, but stated that lifting sanctions and resuming training with American forces may take time.

Momen emphasised that Bangladeshi law enforcers need training from the US on rules of engagement, and informed that there is an inbuilt system of inquiry in the RAB, which tracks all allegations, based on which a number of personnel have been penalised.

Depicting the context of the creation of RAB in 2004, he underscored that RAB has played a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism efforts, which may be undermined by the sanctions.