Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bangladesh sets up 1971 war crimes tribunal

By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Dhaka

Bangladeshis perform a street theatre on "war criminals" to mark the country’s Independence Day, in Saver, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 26, 2010
War crimes trials featured in Dhaka street theatre this month

The Bangladeshi government has set up a tribunal to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes during the country's war of independence in 1971.

The government says it will put on trial those Bangladeshis who at the time collaborated with Pakistan.

Forces from Pakistan are accused of killing many civilians.

In its doomed bid to suppress independence 39 years ago, Pakistan's army unleashed terror against those suspected of supporting secession.

Many were killed and millions fled the country.

But the army was not acting alone.

It was helped by many locals, including members of the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party.

They formed militia which allegedly helped identify victims and also took part in the killings.

Their leaders were absolved after the war and are now prominent opposition figures.

The government wants to put them on trial, but they claim they are innocent and that this is a political move.

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