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Bangladesh war crimes tribunal demands formal charges

The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh (ICTB) [official Facebook page] on Tuesday ordered the prosecution to submit formal charges against four leaders of Jamaat e Islam (JI) who are suspected of war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounders] against Pakistan. The ICTB, a special court established by the Bangladeshi government and not endorsed by any international organization, also rejected the bail petitions of JI chief Motiur Rahman Nizami's bail petition, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and assistant secretaries general Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Kadar Mollah, who are all in prison. The JI party, which openly campaigned against breaking away [JURIST report] from Pakistan during the war, has accused the government-run tribunal of targeting political opponents. Formal charges must be submitted [bdnews24.com report] by December 5.

Earlier this week the ICTB delayed [JURIST report] the start of its first war crimes trial. The ICTB was slated to hear arguments in the case of Delwar Hossain Sayedee, leader of JI. Sayedee's lawyer asked the tribunal to review the charges against his client. The tribunal accepted 20 of 31 charges including allegations of aiding Pakistani soldiers, committing murder and rape, torching villages, looting and forcibly converting Hindus to Islam. Sayedee has denied the charges. The trial is scheduled to resume on November 20. In July, Bangladeshi prosecutors filed the underlying war crime charges [JURIST reports] in the ICTB against Sayedee.

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