The Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom has made an official response to the first judgement reached by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal-2 and the death sentence handed down to former Jamaat-e-Islami member Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu.
The reaction of Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi was posted on the FCO website on Monday.
Warsi said, “The British Government notes the verdict by the International Crimes Tribunal in the case of Abul Kalam Azad. The British Government supports the efforts of Bangladesh to bring to justice those responsible for committing atrocities during the 1971 War, although we remain strongly opposed to the application of the death penalty in all circumstances.”
She further said, “The British Government is aware of concerns expressed by some human rights NGOs and legal professionals about proceedings at the International Crimes Tribunal.”
“We hope that the International Crimes Tribunal addresses such concerns promptly and thoroughly to ensure the continued integrity, independence and reputation of the legal process in Bangladesh.”
In its historic maiden verdict on Monday, the second war crimes tribunal handed down death penalty to Azad who was tried in absentia for his involvement in crimes against humanity committed during the War of Independence in 1971.
Azad, who is still on the run since the tribunal issued arrest warrant for him in April last year, was found guilty of seven charges including genocide, murder, rape and loot. He was acquitted in one charge.
The tribunal had issued the arrest warrant for Azad on April 3. But despite intelligence watch, he managed to leave Dhaka on Mar 30.
He fled to India through Hili border in northern district of Dinajpur on Apr 2 night on his way to Pakistan to avoid arrest and prosecution, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) told the media on Apr 9 last year quoting his detained sons.banglanews24.com