Statement on the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) Death Sentence of Kamaruzzaman

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 11, 2015

The United States supports bringing to justice those who committed atrocities in the 1971 Bangladesh war of independence. In doing so, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) trials must be fair and transparent, and in accordance with international obligations that Bangladesh has agreed to uphold through its ratification of international agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Countries that impose a death penalty must do so with great care, in accordance with a very high standard of due process and respect for fair trial guarantees. We greatly respect the decisions of the International Crimes Tribunal and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in Chief Prosecutor vs. Mohammed Kamaruzzaman, and note in particular the judicial rigor applied to this ruling. We believe that broad and enduring support for this process both nationally and internationally can be best achieved by exercising great care and caution before imposing and implementing a sentence of death.

We have seen progress, but still believe that further improvements to the ICT process could ensure these proceedings meet domestic and international obligations. Until these obligations can be consistently met, it is best not to proceed with executions given the irreversibility of a sentence of death.