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Bangladeshi court sentences 5 to death for war crimes

A special tribunal in Bangladesh today sentenced five men to death for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the rape, murder and torture of civilians during the country's war of independence in 1971. 

The International Crimes Tribunal, led by Justice Shahinur Islam said the convicted men were part of the Muslim League and Al-Badr, who were working with the then occupying Pakistan army. 

All convicts sentences to death have one month to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court. 

Bangladesh's war crimes trials have been criticised by international human rights organisations however. 

In 2015 the tribunal found the former assistant secretary general of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party guilty of genocide committed during the 1971 war. 

At the time the decision was criticised by Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch who said, “Bangladesh’s war crimes trials have been plagued by persistent and credible allegations of fair trial violations that require impartial judicial review.”

“Human Rights Watch has long supported justice and accountability for the horrific crimes that occurred in 1971, but these trials need to meet international fair trial standards to properly deliver on those promises for the victims,” said Mr Adams. “Delivering justice requires adhering to the highest standards, particularly when a life is at stake. The conduct of Kamaruzzaman’s trial cannot be said to have met those standards.”

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