Photograph: freeimages.com/Marcelo Gerpe

Eighteen people have been charged with crimes related to the faulty construction of a factory building that collapsed three years ago and killed more than 1,100 people near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, officials said on Tuesday.

Witness depositions against the accused, including Sohel Rana, the owner of the building, as well as his parents, government officials and factory executives, will begin on August 23, said prosecutor Anwarul Kabir.

The eight-storey Rana Plaza building, which housed five garment factories, collapsed on April 24, 2013, in Savar, 20 kilometres north of Dhaka, killing 1,135 people and injuring more than 2,500.

The court also issued arrest warrants for a government engineer, two urban planners and two construction firm owners who remained absconding since the collapse of the building, the lawyer said.

Investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar formally submitted the charges before the court on June 1, 2015, to begin trial in two cases, one of culpable homicide and one of faulty construction.

Forty-one people were charged with culpable homicide, as they allegedly compelled employees to work inside the factory despite knowing that it was unsafe.

Seventeen of the 41 were charged for violating provisions of the Building Construction Act of 1952, which stipulates seven years of imprisonment and financial penalty.

One of the factory owners, who was not charged for culpable homicide, was accused of violating building construction law by using a faulty facility as a workplace. Kar said that the building was constructed in violation of many provisions of the law.

Bangladesh is the world's second-largest exporter of garment products after China. It has been the subject of severe criticism over poor safety standards at factories.

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