The Tribunal heard arguments in two matters:
1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – Cross-examination of Prosecution Witness #8
2. Contempt Proceedings Against Suranjit Sengupta – a government minister
The cross-examination of Beauty Khanam, eighth prosecution witness in the case against Abdul Alim, was completed. The case wa then adjourned until January 15th. Out of court, Defense Counsel for Kamaruzzaman submitted an application for retrial to the Registrar.
Cross Examination of Prosecution Witness #8 Completed in the Case of Abdul Alim
Ahsanul Haq Hena and AEM Khalilur Rahman, Alim’s counsels, cross-examined Beauty, daughter of a martyr subeder major. She testified that the Shanti [Peace] Committee and members of the Razakars had acted upon Abdul Alim’s order and had killed her father in Joypurhat because he was fighting against the Pakistani army.
Beauty had already been cross-examined briefly on several other days, but not for long on each occasion. At one stage of yesterday’s cross-examination, the witness expressed discontent over Hena when he repeated the same questions he and his colleagues had asked her earlier.
The tribunal requested the Defence to decide among themselves who would ask what questions.
Contempt Proceedings Against Suranjit Sengupta
Upon his request, The tribunal then extended time for Suranjit Sengupta, a minister without portfolio, until January 14 to explain his comments regarding the date verdicts in the cases pending with the tribunal could be expected.
On December 24, the tribunal on its own motion issued the show-cause notice on Suranjit following a report in a Bangla daily. Suranjit was quoted in the report as saying, “Verdict of 14 identified war criminals has already been finalised. Trial of these 14 war criminals would be completed anytime within 2013.”
Defense Counsel files Application for Retrial on behalf of Kamaruzzaman
The Defense filed an application on behalf of Accused Muhammad Kamaruzzaman for a retrial based on Skype and email communications between the former Chairman of Tribunal 1 and foreign legal expert Dr. Ahmed Ziauddin that allegedly show collusion between the prosecution and the judges as well as pressure from the executive branch of the government to provide verdicts before December 17 of last year.
The case against Kamaruzzaman is in ongoing and the Prosecution is presenting its case-in-chief. Fifteen prosecution witnesses have so far testified in the case against Kamaruzzaman. The Defense told the media that they are preparing retrial petitions in the cases of the three other accused: Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Abdul Quader Mollah and Abdul Alim, all of which are pending in Tribunal 2. The Defense asserted that the Skype and email conversations show that the formal charges of the first eight cases pending with the two tribunals were prepared by Dr. Ahmed Ziauddin and his associates and came from Brussels.
The Defense told the media that they were not alleging any direct involvement in the controversy on the part of the judges of tribunal 2, however they claim that the appearance of bias prejudices their clients cases and so they see fit to file the petition.
The Defense cited the authority of the Tribunal under §46 (A) of ICT rules of procedure to pass orders in the furtherance of “the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process.”