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Bangladesh: Convicted War Criminal Sentenced to Death

(Jan. 25, 2013) A court in Bangladesh known as the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has sentenced a former leader of the country’s largest Islamic party to death. Abul Kalam Azad, an ex-member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of rape and murder. The verdict was handed down in absentia; the accused is believed to have fled the country. (Bangladesh Cleric Gets Death Sentence for War Crimes, DAWN.COM (Jan. 22, 2013).)

The ICT, which is a domestic tribunal with no international oversight, was created in 2010. In February of that year, the Government of Bangladesh announced that trials would be held for persons accused of committing war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. (Constance Johnson, Bangladesh: War Crimes Trials Planned; ICC Ratified, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Mar. 29, 2010).) Last year, the ICT refused to grant bail to the former head of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party in Bangladesh, Ghulam Azam. (Tariq Ahmad, Bangladesh: Islamist Opposition Leader Arrested, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Jan. 17, 2012).)

The Attorney General of Bangladesh, Mahbubey Alam, stated that the verdict is “a victory for humanity. Bangladeshi people have been waiting for this day since 1971. They can now heave a sigh of relief.” (Bangladesh Cleric Gets Death Sentence for War Crimes, supra.)