The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday indicted Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] leader ATM Azharul Islam on six charges of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Azharul, who is now 61 and serving as the assistant secretary general of JI, maintained his innocence [Daily Star report] on the charges of genocide, rape, murder, abduction, confinement and torture in the Rangpur district during the war. It is alleged that he was a part of a massacre that occurred in the district at the time, in which more than 1,200 people were killed. Azharul was arrested in his home last year, and prosecutors announced plans to file charges [JURIST reports] in July. The trial date has been set for December 5.
The ICTB, which was established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text], is charged with investigating and prosecuting war crimes committed during the 1971 conflict, in which about 3 million people were killed. Earlier this month the tribunal found [JURIST report] Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, both members of the JI party, guilty of abducting and murdering 18 people [AP report] in December 1971. Last month Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] leader Zahid Hossain Khokon was indicted [JURIST report] in absentia on war crimes charges, including genocide, torture, abduction and confinement. In August the Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] sentenced [JURIST report] Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of the Islamist party JI, to death. This overturned a February ruling by the ICTB, which sentenced Mollah to life in prison. In July Ali Ahsan Mojaheed was found guilty of five charges [JURIST report] by the ICTB, including those of kidnapping and killing a journalist, a music director and a number of other people during the war.