Local collaborators of Pakistani occupation forces or war criminals charged with specific allegations of committing atrocities during the Liberation War have never been pardoned although propaganda campaigns are on claiming that they were granted general amnesty by Bangabandhu-led post-war government.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s government promulgated Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order on January 24 in 1972 for their trial.
The same year, the Order was finalised after three phases of amendment covering individuals or organisations who collaborated with the occupation forces in mass killings, committed crimes against humanity, unleashed torture on men, women and children, destroyed property, or helped in destructive activities or fought against Bangladesh siding with the Pakistani forces or supported them.
The Order also explained in detail how 11 tribunals would be set up to punish them, and also the process of trial.
The government on July 20, 1973, passed International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 mainly to bring the Pakistani war criminals in the trial process and expand the scope of trial.
On November 30, 1973, the government announced general amnesty for those among the arrestees under collaborators order not charged with specific allegations of war atrocities.
The press note on general amnesty categorically said, “Those who were punished for or accused of rape, murder, attempt to murder or arson will not come under general amnesty.”
Out of 37,000 sent to jail on charges of collaboration, some 26,000 were freed after announcement of the general amnesty.
Around 11,000 were still in prison when the government of Justice Sayem and General Ziaur Rahman repealed the collaboration order on December 31, 1975. Following this, those behind bars for war atrocities appealed and eventually got released.
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