Abul Kalam Azad Guilty Verdict

Today Tribunal 2 issued the first verdict of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. The verdict was issued against Abul Kalam Azad, also known by his alias “Bacchu”, who has been tried in absentia.

The Tribunal found Kalam Azad GUILTY on 7 of 8 Charges. He was found NOT GUILTY of Charge 2. Six of the guilty verdicts were for crimes against humanity and one was for genocide. Referencing the gravity of the crimes of genocide and murder as a crime against humanity, the court sentenced Kalam Azad to death by hanging for Charges 3,4,6 and 7. For Charges 1,5,8 the Tribunal stated that Kalam Azad was deserving of imprisonment. However, because of the death sentence issued the Tribunal did not stipulate any further terms of imprisonment.

The pdf can be obtained by clicking here: Kalam Azad Judgment (Summary) 21.01.13

For further details continue reading…

Procedural History:
The Prosecution submitted formal charges against Kalam Azad on September 2, 2012. The accused has evaded arrest and the Tribunal proceeded with a trial in absentia after publishing notifications in public newspapers and appointing a state defense counsel to represent the absent suspect. The Tribunal issued the Charge Framing Order against Kalam Azad on November 4, 2012, thereby beginning the trial against him. The Prosecution called 22 witnesses in support of the charges against Kalam Azad. The Defense failed to call any witnesses and told the court that he was unable to do so because the family of Kalam Azad had rejected his requests for assistance. Closing arguments in the case were completed on December 26, 2012. The case has proceeded far more quickly than the other cases pending before the tribunal, many of which have been in progress for over a year.

The Charges:
Kalam Azad faced 8 Charges: 7 of the charges were for Crimes against Humanity and 1 was for genocide. The red highlighting below indicates a guilty verdict on the specified charge, while the blue indicates not guilty.

  1. Crimes against Humanity: abduction, confinement and torture of Ranjit Kumar Nath, alias Babu Nath, of Faridpur in the first week of June 1971;
  2. Crimes against Humanity: abduction, torture and 43-day confinement in an army camp of Abu Yusuf Pakhi on July 26, 1971;
  3. Crimes against Humanity: murder of Sudhangshu Mohan Roy of Kolaran village in Faridpur on May 14;
  4. Crimes against Humanity: murder of Madhab Chandra Biswas of Purura Namapara village of Faridpur on May 16, 1971;
  5. Crimes against Humanity:rape of two Hindu women in Natibodia village in Boalmari of Faridpur on June 8, 1971
  6. Crimes against Humanity: murder of Chitta Ranjan Das of Fulbaria in Faridpur on June 3, 1971;
  7. Genocide: attack on the Hindu-majority Hasamdia village in Faridpur including the looting and burning of houses and killing of seven civilians on May 17;
  8. Crimes against Humanity:abduction of an Hindu girl of Ujirpur Bazarpara in Faridpur on May 18, 1971.

The Judgment
A summary of the judgment was read out loud in court today. This summary version was also made available to the Defense, journalists, and the WCSC. We are told that the full judgment is 112 pages long (as compared to 24) and contains 334 paragraphs. We have been informed by the Tribunal that only the Prosecution is provided with a copy of the full judgment. The prosecution for the moment has declined to provide WCSC with a copy of the full judgment. We are hopeful that we may obtain it shortly from the Registrar, however our request for access to certified documents is still pending.

Legal Conclusions in the Judgment
In its verdict the Tribunal addressed a number of legal issues that have been raised in other cases currently pending before the court. Specifically the verdict contains sections discussing the Jurisdiction of the Tribunal (namely over individuals as opposed to auxiliary forces), Applicable Laws, Delay in Bringing Prosecution, the Validity of a Trial in Absentia, Prosecution of Accomplices where the Principal is Not Charged, and Elements of the Crimes (particularly the element of “widespread” and “systematic attack” on a civilian population as an element of Crimes against Humanity).

The WCSC is attempting to obtain the full judgment before reporting on the conclusions drawn by the Tribunal. However, we will post shortly regarding how these topics were addressed in the Tribunal’s summary version of the judgment.

The pdf can be obtained by clicking here: Kalam Azad Judgment (Summary) 21.01.13