Verdicts stir up controversy over Bangladesh war tribunal

05 November 2014 by David Bergman

A spate of rulings against leaders of Bangladesh’s biggest Islamist opposition party for atrocities during the war in 1971 shows the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) forging ahead – despite continuing criticism from outside the country.

On Monday, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Mohammad Kamaruzzan, one of the current leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, convicted by the ICT in May last year for genocide and torture. This decision comes hot on the heels of two other death sentences handed out by the ICT last week. 

On Sunday, another key figure in the party, media tycoon Mir Quasem Ali, was sentenced to be hanged by the tribunal just days after the head of Jamaat, Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, received a similar sentence. The court found that Nizami had led the Al Badr death squad, which supported Pakistan in its fight to stop Bangladesh secession. His death sentence was for four particular offences, including the mass killing of around 450 civilians and the rape of 30 women in Pabna. Estimates of conflict casualties, most at the hands of the Pakistani military and their collaborators, range from 300,000 to 3 million. Ali and Nizami’s convictions makes for nine men so far sentenced to death by the Dhaka-based ICT, established in 2009. Another two have been given life sentences. 

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.