‘Devil’s Triangle’ or more commonly known as ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ is situated in a section of the North Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of 440,000 Sq miles of sea. According to statistics, it is undoubtedly one of the most heavily travelled shipping lanes in the world, with vessels crossing through to get to ports in America, Europe and the Caribbean. Now, we all know that ‘The Bermuda Triangle’, or ‘Devil’s Triangle’, has been blamed for the disappearance of dozens of planes and ships and the loss of at least 1,000 lives in the past 100 years.
We live in a global world. Here international relations are at the core of peaceful and harmonious existence of the States. Since time immemorial this has been a universal position of the international world. For example, the League of Nations was formed following the end of the World War I with an aim of affording mutual guarantees of “political independence” and “territorial integrity” to great and small states alike. In this regard a special reference can be made to Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 1919 reads as:
“The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League.”
Similarly, article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter reads as:
“All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Therefore, it is very clear that territorial integrity and political independence are two very fundamental issues of international relations. Every sovereign State has its right to protect its territorial integrity and political independence from rest of the world. Under international law this is commonly known as the “Principle of Non-Intervention”. The international courts in a number of cases repeatedly highlighted and strictly applied this principle. For example, the International Court of Justice in Nicaragua vs. USA (1946), Corfu Channel Case (1949), DRC vs. Uganda (2005)etc. has elaborately discussed the Principle of Non-Intervention.
Very recently India turned back the British lawyer and the member of the House of Lords, Lord Alexander Carlile from the Delhi airport soon after his flight landed from London on 11 July 2018. Lord Carlile, has recently been engaged as a legal consultant in a number of ongoing Bangladeshi cases against Begum Khaleda Zia. Lord Carlile was reported to have travelled to New Delhi to address a media briefing to highlight what the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) calls are “baseless allegations” against her.
According to the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mr. Raveesh Kumar, “Lord Carlile had arrived in New Delhi without having obtained the appropriate Indian visa. … His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application. … It was therefore decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival.” Various media sources reveal that Lord Carlile had actually managed to receive an Indian E-visa stating the purpose of his visit to India to be of ‘business’. However, it was all known to the region that he was visiting India to address a press-conference on a matter internal to Bangladesh.
A number of questions come into my mind; can Lord Carlile do that under international law and norms? Lord Carlile if appointed as a legal consultant of a Bangladeshi citizen (Begum Khaleda Zia) why did he plan to hold a press conference regarding a sub-judice matter of the Bangladeshi courts in Delhi? Or was he appointed as a lobbyist for Begum Khaleda Zia so that he could explore India like the great explorer Captain James Cook on this issue? But still then, why in India? What has India got to do with a sub-judice court matter of Bangladesh?
The ultimate conspiracy lies somewhere else. Lord Carlile’s actual motive was to bring in a three-dimensional complicacy in the international relations. His conspiracy theory postulates that he wanted to pose a Devil’s triangle in the international relationship among Bangladesh, India and the United Kingdom.
Firstly, if the press conference had taken place, Dhaka-Delhi relationship would have been damaged. Bangladesh as a sovereign country would not have appreciated its internal matters being interfered on Indian soil for no good reason and it was not an Indian, rather a British, who was conspiring to misuse the liberty of his Indian visit.
Secondly, the premeditated activities of Lord Carlile, if allowed to be carried on, it would have damaged Dhaka-London relationship too. Lord Carlile is not only a simple British citizen. He is a member of the British legislative and judicial body, the House of Lords. Therefore, his actions fall very much within the activities of the organs of the British Government and as such, the United Kingdom must bear the state responsibility of the personnel of its official organs.
Thirdly, Lord Carlile dared to think that the British Raj is still being continued and he, like Lord Warren Hastings, could still anchor the ship of ‘East India Company’ in India as and when he desires. The thought itself is very disgraceful. Would Lord Carlile’s mentality like the colonial masters ever change? Apparently not and that was bound to spoil Delhi-London relationship.
An experienced lawyer like Lord Carlile cannot be assumed to be unaware of the Principle of Non-Intervention. He has no respect for the international law and norms. If he was so keen to go ahead with his plan to lobby for Begum Khaleda Zia he should have come up with a better formulae. Having a discussion on a sub-judice matter in public itself is a contempt of court. I am sure he knows this too. However, Lord Carlile is not the lonely crusader in this venture. Our own Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the BNP Secretary-General reacted on Lord Carlile’s deportation from India stating, “We think the incident is not consistent with the democratic spirit of India”. Look who is talking!
The petrol-bombers are now marching towards ensuring democratic rights of the people of India! Impressive indeed to note that BNP and Lord Carlile ganging up to create a ‘Devil’s Triangle’ where international relations among Bangladesh, India and the United Kingdom are going to lose its way. Thank God, India did not let it happen this time and we are saved!
Barrister Tureen Afroz is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Professor of Law at the East