The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] on Monday sentenced [judgment, PDF] five people to death for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 war of independence [BBC backgrounder] from Pakistan.
After lengthy testimony, the three-judge panel unanimously found the men guilty of “abduction, confinement, torture, murder, and rape.” As members of Razakar Bahini, a pro-Pakistan paramilitary force, the court held that the men had “conduct[ed] mayhem and mass atrocities directing the unarmed pro-liberation civilians” in order to suppress the independence movement. Six women who survived the abduction and rape came forward to testify during the trial. The crimes occurred in the village of Itbaria within the Patuakhali district.
Rights groups such as Amnesty International [advocacy website] have previously criticized [text] the death sentences imposed by the ICTB, stating that trials of war criminals have, in the past, “failed to meet international standards.” Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception.
The judgement marks the fourth time in 2018 [JURIST report] that the ICTB, which was established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text], has imposed the death penalty.