For the first time in 42 years, a war crimes tribunal indicted two former Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for killing nation’s top intellectuals during the liberation war.

The War Crimes Tribunal-2 indicted Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, the two leaders of the infamous Al-Badr killer gang instrumental in abducting and killing dozens of Bengali intellectuals in the first and second week of December 1971, days before the Pakistan army surrendered to the joint Bangladesh-India military command in Dhaka.

The tribunal, headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan, also fixed July 15 for opening statement.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman, who are reportedly living in the U.K. and the U.S. and leading Islamic charities and mosques, will be tried in absentia.

The duo have been charged on 11 counts related to the abduction and subsequent massacre of the intellectuals who were the prominent professors, leading journalists and physicians.

Both the accused were said to be leading the notorious Al Badr militia created by Pakistani military junta to exterminate the secular Bengali intelligentsia believing that they were the main brains behind the mass revolts by the Bengali masses .

Ashrafuzzaman was said to be the ‘chief executor’ and Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin ‘operation in-charge’ of Al-Badr. They were said to be active members of Islami Chhatra Sangha — the student affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami, which sided with Pakistan and opposed Bangladesh’s independence.