A special tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced three members of a militia group to death for their role in killings and other serious crimes committed during the country's independence war against Pakistan 35 years ago.

Five other defendants were sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

A three-member panel of judges announced the verdict Monday with only two of the defendants in the docks. The others were tried in absentia. All of them were members of Al Badr, which collaborated with the Pakistani army to commit genocide in Bangladesh's Jamalpur district in 1971.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people, raped 200,000 women and forced 10 million people to flee to refugee camps in India.