THE EVENTS IN EAST PAKISTAN, 1971
 


Preface
Part I:  Introduction
Part II: Outline of Events in East Pakistan
           1-25 March, 1971
           25-March-18 December, 1971
Part III: Legal Position under Pakistan Law
Part IV: Legal Position under International Penal Law
Part V: Right of Self-determination in International Law
Part VI: The Role of the United Nations
Part VII: The Role of India
Summary of Conclusions

Summary of Conclusions

 

The following is a summary of the principal conclusions in this study:

(1) During the civil war from 25 March to 3 December and during the international war from 4 to 18 December, massive violations of human rights occurred in East Pakistan. These were committed (a) by the Pakistani army and auxiliary forces against Bengalis, and in particular against members of the Awami League, students, and Hindus, and (b) by Bengali insurgent forces and mobs against Biharis and other non-Bengalis (Part II (b)).

(2) These violations involved the indiscriminate killing of civilians, including women and children; the attempt to exterminate or drive out of the country a large part of the Hindu population of approximately 10 million people; the arrest, torture and killing without trial of suspects; the raping of women; the destruction of villages and towns; and the looting of property. The scale of these crimes was massive, but it is impossible to quantify them. Figures given by both sides tend to be greatly exaggerated (Part II (b)).

(3) 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 (Part IV).

(4) Persons who have committed or were responsible for such crimes are liable to be tried under international law by an international court. If, as has been reported, the Bangladesh government are to put on trial senior Pakistani officers and civilians, they should set up an international court for the purpose with a majority of judges from neutral countries (Part IV).

(5) The martial law regime of General Yahya Khan was unconstitutional and illegal under domestic Pakistan law, but owing to its recognition by other states its validity cannot be challenged under  international law (Part III).

(6) The Awami League leaders were not entitled in international law to proclaim the independence of Bangladesh in March 1971 under the principle of the right of self-determination of peoples (Part V).

(7) They were, however, justified under domestic law in using force to resist the attempt by the self-appointed and illegal military regime to impose a different form of constitution upon the country to that approved by the majority of the people in a fair and free election (Part V).

(8) The United Nations failed to use its available machinery to deal with the situation either with a view to terminating the gross violations of human rights which were occurring or to deal with the threat to international peace which they constituted (Part VI).

(9) India's supply of arms and training facilities to the insurgent forces was in breach of her duty of neutrality under international law (Part VII).

(10) India's claim that her invasion of Pakistan was justified in international law under the doctrine of self-defence and on the grounds that she was acting in support of her Bangladesh ally cannot be accepted (Part VII).

(11) India could, however, have justified the invasion on the grounds of humanitarian intervention, in view of the failure of the United Nations to deal with the massive violations of human rights in East Pakistan which were causing a continuing and intolerable refugee burden to India (Part. VII).


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