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1972 ICJ Report on Bangladesh

In September 1971, a conference of in Aspen, Colorado, organized by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, called upon the ICJ to set up a Commission of Enquiry into the events in East Pakistan. In November 1971, the ICJ established a three-member team of international lawyers who were meant to travel to Bangladesh to collect evidence. When hostilities between India and Pakistan broke out around the same time, the Commmission of Enquiry was cancelled. however, the ICJ staff was able to use the copious documentation already collected to issue this report in 1972, entitled "The Events in East Pakistan, 1971."

Among its conclusions was a finding of evidence of genocide: "In addition to criminal offences under domestic law, there is a strong prima facie case that criminal offences were committed in  international law, namely war crimes and crimes against humanity under the law relating to armed conflict, breaches of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions 1949, and acts of genocide under the Genocide Convention 1949."


Click on the options below to read commentary on and analysis of the Bangladesh Liberation War and the question of genocide.

Akram, Tanweer, "A Critical Evaluation of the ICJ Report on the Bangladesh Genocide" (April 14, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Wardatul Akmam, "Atrocities against humanity during the liberation war in Bangladesh: A case of genocide," Journal of Genocide Research 4:4 (2002), 543-559.

Donald Beachler, "The Politics of Genocide Scholarship: The Case of Bangladesh," Patterns of Prejudice 41:5 (2007), 467-492.

Ved P. Nanda, "A Critique of the United Nations Inaction in the Bangladesh Crisis," Denv. L.J. 49:53 (1972).

Robin Kennedy, "The Bangladesh Liberation War: A Forgotten Question of Genocide," The McGill International Review, 25 March 2021.

Deepak Jain "Bangladesh 1971: A Study in Genocide," The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies, 9 June 2018.

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