The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] on Monday ordered Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan to be tried in absentia for the murders of 19 intellectuals and 11 crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 independence war. Khan is a US citizen, and Mueee-Uddin is a British Muslim leader. Their alleged victims included [Daily Star report] nine teachers, six journalists and three physicians. Both men could face the death penalty for their crimes as leaders of the Al-Badr gang. The men were indicted early in May [JURIST report]. The opening statements have been scheduled for July 15.
The ICTB has been controversial since it was established [JURIST report] in 2010 to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. In February the ICTB sentenced to death [JURIST report] Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedee [JURIST news archive]. Earlier in February the Bangladesh parliament [official website] approved amendments to the country's war crimes laws to allow prosecutors to appeal sentences given to defendants convicted of war crimes. These amendments were in response to protests [JURIST report] that ensued after Abdul Quader Mollah, another JI leader, was given a life sentence [JURIST report] for crimes during the war.