Bangladesh's Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence given to the leader of Bangladesh's largest Islamist party for atrocities and multiple killings committed during the nation's independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Last year a special tribunal dealing with war crimes convicted the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, on 16 charges, including genocide, murder, torture, rape and destruction of property.

On Wednesday, a panel of senior judges headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha rejected an appeal by Nizami against the previous verdict. The decision has removed the last legal barrier to executing him by hanging unless he gets presidential clemency, which is unlikely.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women during the war.