Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was born on 4 July 1952 in Sherpur, Bangladesh. He is the assistant Secretary general of the Bangladesh islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami. Suspected of having committed crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh liberation war, he has been indicted on 13 July 2010 at the international crimes tribunal in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh liberation war began on the evening of 25 March 1971, when western Pakistan launched a military operation against eastern Pakistan (present Bangladesh) to put an end to separatist claims.
On the evening of the 25 March, western Pakistan launched operation searchlight which consisted of the military occupation of several eastern Pakistan cities and the organized and systematic massacre of political opponents and Bengali intellectuals. As a response to the attack, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the political party of the Awami League, the main opposition party claiming independence, declared the independence of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971.
The Bangladeshi population then was divided between those supporting the independence of Bangladesh, regrouped in the “Mukti Bahini” (Liberation Army), and those supporting unity with West Pakistan. The latter were organized into militias actively supporting the Pakistani army. Kamaruzzaman is accused of having been a leader of one of these militias, the Al-Badr, suspected of having participated in operation searchlight. Pakistan signed its surrender on 16 December 1971 and Bangladesh acceded to independence.
A special court for international crimes was implemented on 25 March 2010 (see context). Seven people have been charged in this court. The fact that five of those charged, including Kamaruzzaman, are leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and the other two are members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the two main opposition parties, gives rise to severe criticism as to the suspicion of politically motivated trials. These criticisms are also aimed at the non-respect by the Court of international law standards in matters of rights of the victims and of fair trial.
Kamaruzzaman has been indicted and arrested on 13 July 2010.