Two UN human rights experts on Thursday expressed concern [press release] over the death sentence [JURIST report] imposed by the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICBT) [Facebook page; JURIST news archive] on Abdul Kalam Azad for crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Christof Heynes, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Gabriela Kanul, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers [official websites] criticized the trial, which they claim did not provide for guarantees of a fair trial and due process. The two human rights experts stated that "Given the importance of these trials and the possible application of the death penalty, it is vitally important that all defendants before the Tribunal receive a fair trial."
The ICTB has been controversial since it was established [JURIST report] by Bangladeshi officials in 2010 to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Earlier this week the ICTB sentenced [JURIST report] Abdul Quader Mollah, leader of the Islamist party Jammaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website] to life in prison. In January the ICTB rejected [JURIST report] Mollah's plea for a retrial after he claimed that the trial procedures were compromised. In December, the chairman of the ICTB three judge panel announced [JURIST report] his resignation following allegations of impropriety. In June the ICTB rejected [JURIST report] a bail petition from JI leader and former parliament member Delwar Hossain Sayeedee.