International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) welcomes the first ever verdict delivered by the International Crimes Tribunal-II against Mr Abul Kalam Azad, a former leader of Jamat-I-Islami, who had been tried for crimes against humanity and genocide that he had committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. ICSF considers this first verdict as the beginning of the end to the long held culture of impunity for international crimes committed during the War that prevailed for four long decades, and a beacon of hope to the victims who had been waiting for justice. This verdict has indeed reinforced and strengthened the rule of law. ICSF remembers the victims of 1971 and their sacrifices upon which Bangladesh was built on. Today their souls can truly rest in peace for the justice done for crimes that have been perpetrated against them. ICSF also acknowledges the relentless activism and campaign for justice against all odds that have led to this day.
Mr Azad evaded arrest as he fled the country when warrant of his arrest was in progress against him. After thorough investigation, formal charges containing prima facie case were lodged against him by the Prosecutors of which the Tribunal took cognisance after due perusal. In the absence of the accused, the Tribunal proceeded with the trial in absentia in accordance with the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 and appointed competent counsel on its own accord to conduct the case for the accused. The trial took place in the open court where the Tribunal weighed the evidence against the accused, and heard arguments presented and rebutted by respective counsel.
Established in 2009, ICSF is an independent coalition of independent activists and experts comprising 13 independent organisations that are committed to end impunity, establish rule of law and to ensure justice for international crimes that have been perpetrated in 1971.