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In March 2010, the Government of Bangladesh, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, re-established an International Crimes Tribunal to try people for alleged ‘international crimes’ (including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity) committed during the 1971 war of independence. The Tribunal operated during 1973-75, but by the time it was re-established, there had been no trials for 35 years.

All of the eight men so far facing trial are senior figures in the main opposition parties, Jamaat-e-Islaami and the Bangladeshi National Party. Various changes have now been made to the rules of procedure of the Tribunal, but there remains considerable criticism that the Tribunal process falls short of international standards. A second Tribunal was recently constituted to share the growing workload.

This is not just a highly sensitive issue in Bangladesh. There are strong advocates for and against the Tribunal process within the UK’s Bangladeshi community.

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