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Chief Prosecutor v. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad

Court International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-2), Bangladesh
Case number 05 (2012)
Decision title Judgment
Decision date 21 January 2013
  • Prosecutor
  • Moulana Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar
Other names
  • Bachchu Razakar
Categories Crimes against humanity, Genocide
Keywords crimes against humanity, enforced disappearance, genocide, Murder, Non-international armed conflict, pillage, rape, torture
Other countries involved
  • India
  • Pakistan
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The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 opposed East Pakistan and India to West Pakistan and resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh. The conflict commenced as a result of a military operation launched by the State of Pakistan (then West Pakistan) against Bengali civilians, students and armed personnel who were demanding the military regime of the State of Pakistan to either honour the results of the 1970 democratic elections, which had been won by an East Pakistan party, or allow the secession of East Pakistan from West Pakistan. In response, Bengali military, paramilitary and civilians formed the Mukti Bahini and engaged in guerrilla warfare against the West Pakistan Army with the financial, logistical and diplomatic support of India. The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) was set up in Bangladesh to prosecute those in Bangladesh responsible for committing atrocities in the course of the armed conflict.

The present judgment was rendered by the ICT against Moulana Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar, a member of the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami opposed to an independent Bangladesh. He provided aid to the Pakistani Army and subsequently became the leader of the Al-Badr force, a paramilitary wing of the West Pakistan Army, which operated in East Pakistan against the Bengali nationalist movement. On 21 January 2013, in its first ever judgment, the ICT convicted Azad and sentenced him to death for his crimes. The sentence cannot, however, be carried out until Azad has been located. His trial was held in absentia as he is believed to have fled Bangladesh. 

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Procedural history

On 3 April 2012, the International Crimes Tribunal issued an arrest warrant for the Accused, Moulana Abul Kalam Asad, for crimes against humanity committed in the course of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

On 25 September 2012, a notification was published in national daily newspapers asking the Accused to appear before the Tribunal within 10 days of the notice. Nevertheless the Accused failed to show up and attempts to locate him were unsuccessful; hence, on 7 October 2012, the Tribunal decided to hold Azad’s trial in absentia.

On 4 November 2012, the Tribunal indicted the Accused on eight charges of crimes against humanity including murder and rape. The charges are based on eight incidents that have left at least 12 unarmed people dead and two women raped in Faridpur (charges reproduced in newspaper The Daily Star).

The trial commenced on 14 November 2012.

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Related developments

Despite the arrest warrant the ICT issued in April 2012, Bachchu Razakar fled the country and remained traceless in March 2015.

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Legally relevant facts

The indictment alleges that on 14 May 1971, the Accused, accompanied by 10-12 armed Razakars (an Islamist East Pakistani militia that aided the Pakistani Army), attacked the village of Jolaram of Boalmari in Faridpur Town. In the course of this attack, the Accused killed a father and grieviously injured his son.

On 16 May 1971, the Accused - again accompanied by armed Razakars - captured Madhab Chandra Biswas, an individual who used to provide asisstance to freedom fighters during the war. The Accused shot Madhab to death.

On 17 May 1971 the Accused accompanied by 30-35 armed Razakars launched an attack on the Hindu dominated village of Hasamdia, looting and burning homes and shooting 7 to death.

On 18 May 1971, the Accused attacked the home of Guru Das and abudcted his daughter, who was subsequently tortured and detained for 7-8 days.

On 8 June 1971 the Accused, accompanised by armed Razakars, attached the house of Sudhir Biswas, took away two females from the house and raped them.

In the first week of June 1971, Azad and his accomplices apprehended Ranjit Nath in Faridpur Town and took him to the Pakistani Army Camp at Faridpur Circuit House and subsequently to the home of Rashid Mia where he was confined and tortured. The victim managed to escape by breaking a window.

On 3 June 1971, Azad and 10-12 armed Razakars attacked the Hindu dominated village of Fulbaria, looted the houses there and killed one individual.

On 26 July 1971, some local Razakars apprehended Anu Yusuf Pakhi and handed him over to the Pakistani Army at Faridpur Stadium. In consultation with the Accused, the decision was made to detain and torture Yusuf at a camp.

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Specific legal rules and provisions

  • Sections 3(1), 3(2)(a), 3(2)(c)(i), 4(1) and 20(2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act.

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials

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