Bangladesh’s war crimes trials - A history

2015-02-24 21:02

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Dhaka - Bangladesh set up the International Crimes Tribunal to prosecute those accused of atrocities committed in the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

East Pakistan became Bangladesh after the fighting ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces on 16 December 1971.

The accused allegedly collaborated with the occupying army during the nine-month conflict.

The government in Dhaka estimates that 3 million people died, and about 200 000 women were raped. Independent researchers say the death toll was considerably lower.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up the tribunal in 2010. An earlier attempt to prosecute the suspects was called off following the 1975 assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's founding president and Hasina's father.

Twenty-eight defendants in 23 cases have been indicted to date, most from Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamist party.

Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed independence during the conflict, has rejected the trials as politically motivated.

The tribunal has so far handed down verdicts on 17 defendants - all found guilty of offences including crimes against humanity, murder and rape.

Thirteen were sentenced to death, three to life in prison and another to 90 years in jail.

One of them has already been executed, while two died in prison.

Read more on:    bangladash  |  war

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