Inside Story

What’s behind Bangladesh’s war crimes trials?

Another death sentence upheld against a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami political group over alleged war crimes in 1971.

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has upheld the death sentence of Mohammad Kamaruzzaman who was found guilty of atrocities committed during the war of independence in 1971.

Kamaruzzaman’s appeal was rejected after he was convicted last year by a special war crimes tribunal on charges that he killed a number of people when he was fighting in a pro-Pakistan militia.

The ruling is the latest in a series of similar verdicts against a number of members and leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party.

The special court was set up in 2009 to address cases of those accused of killing civilians during the 1971 war.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina defended the tribunal, saying the trials would bring justice to the victims.

But do these trials serve justice? Or are they a political tool against the opposition?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


David Bergman – Reporter for New Age Dhaka and Human Rights Activist.

Toby Cadman – Lawyer representing the accused and international lobbyist for the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership.

Mofidul Hoque – Co-Founder and Trustee of the Dhaka Liberation Museum, where he collects witness accounts of the events of the 1971 war.