[JURIST] Syed Mohammed Hasan Ali, a fugitive commander of Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani troops, was sentenced to death on Tuesday by a Bangladeshi court for torture and massacre committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War [BBC backgrounder]. Ali was found guilty on five out of six charges and was sentenced to death by Justice M Enaytur Rahim [official website], the chairman of the three-member panel of International Crimes Tribunal-1. The Tribunal was able to “prove beyond doubt” that Ali committed five out of six charged offenses, and he is the fifth person to be found guilty of war crimes in absentia since the trials began in 2010. Ali, who was eventually represented by a state-appointed lawyer during the trial, was believed to have fled the country when the trial process started but 26 witnesses testified against him during the trial. Under the Bangladeshi law, Ali can challenge the verdict in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court after surrendering in front of the tribunal.
The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website], 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. In April a Bangladeshi appeals court rejected [JURIST report] a final appeal by Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, an Islamist party official convicted of war crimes during the 1971 Liberation war, upholding his death sentence. In February the Tribunal convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] Abdul Jabbar, a militia leader and former lawmaker, to life in prison for genocide and religious persecution committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Earlier that month the Tribunal convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] Islamist leader Adbus Subhan to death. In February the Tribunal sentenced the former [JURIST report] Bangladeshi Junior Minister to death for genocide and crimes against humanity.