Some 36 people, who were sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), are still absconding. Neither the state nor the probe body of the tribunal has any specific information about the whereabouts of most of the convicted.
Among the convicted are Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar, Md Ashrafuzzaman and Chowdhury Moinuddin. Among them, Ashrafuzzaman and Chowdhury Moinuddin were directly involved in the killing of intellectuals. Zahid Hossain, Syed Hasan Ali, ATM Nasir, Abu Saleh Muhammad Abdul Aziz alias Ghoramara Aziz and Ruhul Amin are among the fugitives.
M Sanaul Haque, the coordinator of the probe body, told Prothom Alo that fugitive Asharfuzzaman is living in the US and Moinuddin in the UK. The government is trying to bring them back. If the concerned governments are sincere, it will be possible to do so. It has been heard that Bachchu Razakar sometimes stays in Pakistan and sometimes in Saudi Arabia. Sanaul Haque said that over the last 11 years, the trials of the top criminals have been completed. The local tribunal has set an example internationally on the trial of crimes against humanity.
The International Crime Tribunal was formed on 25 March 2010, 39 years after independence. About two years later another tribunal was formedm known as Tribunal-2. On 15 September 2015, another tribunal was formed by merging the previous tribunals. The tribunal has given verdicts in 42 cases over the last 11 years. Over a hundred were convicted. Trials of 30 cases are on-going at the International Crimes Tribunal. Another six cases are awaiting trial. Apart from these, investigation is underway on 26 allegations of crimes against humanity.
I think the tribunal has succeeded in fulfilling the dream that the nation hoped for. It is because the judges, prosecution, probe body and defence associated with the tribunal were earnest and sincere in carrying out their duty
Following the verdict of the tribunal, death sentences of the six convicts have been executed. These six convicts are Jamaat-e-Islami’s top leaders Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Mollah and Mir Quasem Ali and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury. Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi is serving lifetime imprisonment.
Apart from this, former ameer of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Ghulam Azam, sentenced to 90 years in prison, and BNP leader and former minister Abdul Alim, sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, had died while in prison. Another Jamaat leader Abdus Sobhan, who was sentenced to death, also died in prison.
The appeal to reconsider the capital punishment of Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam and Jatiya Party’s (JaPa) former leader Syed Mohammad Kaisar is awaiting hearing in the Appellate Division.
Tribunal-1 has given verdicts in 31 cases and Tribunal-2 has ruled in 11 cases. In 2013, verdicts of nine cases were declared by these tribunals. In 2014 and 2015, a total of 12 verdicts had been declared, six each year. Tribunal-1 ruled in 20 cases in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. No verdict came from the tribunal in 2020. On 11 February, the tribunal declared a verdict in another case.
According to the state, 12 among the 116 accused in 42 cases in the International Crimes Tribunal had died before the verdict was declared and one accused was acquitted in a case.
According to the public prosecutor, the tribunal convicted a total of 103 people in 42 cases. Among them, 71 were convicted to death. A total of 22 accused were convicted to lifetime imprisonment. Other accused were convicted on different terms.
Investigation and current cases
According to the public prosecutors, the number of accused in the 36 cases under trial and pre-trial is 227. Among them, 123 accused are in prison now and 79 are fugitives. Nineteen of them have already died. The remaining four are on bail now. Another two accused surrendered to the tribunal and are in prison.
However, according to the probe body of the tribunal, the number of accused in the 30 cases under trial and pre-trial is 215. Among them, 96 are fugitives and 98 have been detained. Six of the accused are on bail and 15 have died.
So far 778 complaints have been filed. Among them, investigation of 78 complaints has been accomplished. Another 26 complaints are under investigation. The number of accused in these complaints is 38.
Apart from these, the probe body has accepted 694 complaints against 3,839 people, which are awaiting trial.
Rana Dasgupta, a prosecutor of the tribunal, said, “I think the tribunal has succeeded in fulfilling the dream that the nation hoped for. It is because the judges, prosecution, probe body and defence associated with the tribunal were earnest and sincere in carrying out their duty. The tribunal has ruled in 42 cases in the last 11 years, in which 116 people were convicted.