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Bangladesh: War Crimes Trials Planned; ICC Ratified

(Mar. 29, 2010) In February 2010, the Government of Bangladesh announced that trials would be held for those accused of war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Prosecutors and investigators were to be appointed in March, with the goal of having fair, open procedures. The cases will be tried under Bangladesh's International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973. (Megan McKee, Bangladesh Cabinet Ratifies ICC Treaty, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST, Mar. 22, 2010, available at

In a separate action, on March 22, 2010, Bangladesh's Cabinet ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is the 111th country to ratify the document and the first in South Asia. The Statute will become effective in Bangladesh on June 1 of this year. This step means that the country will have to update its laws on war crimes, something that has been advocated by nongovernmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch, to adhere to the treaty provisions. The trials for the 1971 crimes will not be held by the ICC, as that Court only has jurisdiction over events that occurred after the Rome Statute came into force in 2002. (Id.; Bangladesh Becomes First South Asian ICC Member Country, SIFY NEWS, Mar. 24, 2010, available at