Conflict & Justice

Sentences for War Criminals in Bangladesh Prompt Both Peace and Violence

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Cartoon: Kawsar Mahmud, Bangladesh

Marco Werman speaks with The World's Cartoon Editor Carol Hills about a drama unfolding in Bangladesh.

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Bangladeshi political cartoons are full of images of hangings. It's a reference to the country's war crimes tribunal that's finally bringing to justice those Bangladeshis who collaborated with Pakistan during the war of independence in 1971.

They are accused of numerous atrocities including killings and raps.

The 1971 war only lasted nine months but as many as three million Bangladeshis may have died during the brief war. The carnage is often referred to as genocide and it casts a pall over Bangladeshi politics.

At issue now is what kind of sentence should be meted out to the convicted war criminals. Many Bangladeshis think nothing short of a death sentence is enough.

Thousands have been demonstrating peacefully at a square in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, demanding death sentences for the war criminals.

It's an unusual mix: Students, workers, older people, bloggers and political cartoonists. But the country's major Islamist party is calling the demand for the death penalty anti-Islamic.

Most of the convicted war criminals being tried and sentence are Islamist and sided with Pakistan because they didn't want a secular democracy.

This narrated slideshow of Bangladeshi political cartoons shows strong support for the death penalty for the war criminals.