DHAKA, June 11 (BSS)- The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-2 today indicted former minister Abdul Alim of BNP on 17 counts of crimes against humanity and fixed July 9 for formal launch of the trial hearing with the prosecution's opening statement.
"We hereby direct you to be tried by this tribunal on the said charges. You have heard and understood the aforesaid charges." Chair of the tribunal Justice ATM Fazle Kabir said framing the charges against Alim, the seventh of the eight high- profile detained suspects of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
The tribunal earlier read out the 17 charges brought by the prosecution that included masterminding or inciting genocides, lootings, tortures of ordinary people and setting up training camps for razakars to train auxiliary forces for the Pakistani troops.
The prosecution lawyers earlier said Alim was also the president of the so- called peace committee and influential leader of Razakar force at his hometown in Joypurhat and neighbouring areas.
Liberation War records suggests that local freedom fighters searched Alim out from his hideouts after the December 16, 1971 victory and kept him in a cage for public viewing for several days but the major suspected war criminal subsequently evaded the peoples wrath.
Alim, now in his early eighties and bound to wheel chair, pleaded not guilty and sought justice when asked if he was guilty or not in line with the practice of the court ahead of pronouncing the indictment order.
Earlier on April 26, the prosecution of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) submitted 28 more charges, including arson, looting, mass killing and rape, against the BNP leader, but the tribunal accepted 17 charges.
On March 1, the tribunal no-1 headed by Justice Nizamul Haque took the charges against Alim into cognizance. Later on April 6, three cases, including the said were transferred to the ICT-2 granting the prosecution prayer.
Alim was arrested on March 27, 2011, and has been on conditional bail since March 31 last year.
Alim was accused of killing thousands of people in Joypurhat in collaboration with Pakistani army and committing crimes against humanity as peace committee chairman of the district in 1971.
Abdul Alim, the three-time BNP lawmaker and former minister, was the seventh detained war crime suspect who was indicted since the war crimes trial process was initiated two years ago while fellow suspect and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed now awaited the indictment by the tribunal.
The tribunal also issued an arrest warrant against expelled Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad who is now at large.
Officially, three million people were killed in the war by the Pakistani army and their Bengali-speaking collaborators during the 1971 Liberation War.