The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] on Wednesday sentenced [judgment, PDF] a former member of parliament to death and seven others to life in prison for crimes committed during the 1971 war for independence. Sakhawat Hossain, a former lawmaker and member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was accused [AP report] of commanding a group that aided Pakistani soldiers. His lawyers have said they plan to appeal. One of the other defendants was present in court along with Hossain, and the remaining six defendants were tried and convicted in absentia.
The ICTB, established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text], is charged with to detaining, prosecuting and punishing persons responsible for committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law committed during the 1971 conflict. Rights groups such as Amnesty International [advocacy website] have criticized [JURIST report] death sentences imposed by the ICTB, stating that trials of war criminals have, in the past, “failed to meet international standards.” In June the ICTB sentenced [JURIST report] Mohibur Rahman to death for his part in the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. In May the Supreme Court of Bangladesh upheld the death sentence issued by the ICTB [JURIST report] against Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami. In March the Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report] the death sentence of a former opposition politician for allegedly committing war crimes during the 1971 war of independence. In February the ICTB sentenced [JURIST report] two men to death for crimes against humanity.