Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee: Order on review applications, Resubmission of Defense Closing Arguments (Accused was Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Rejection of Applications for Contempt Proceedings (Accused Not Present)
On January 23, Tribunal rejected two Review applications filed by the Defense Counsel for Delwar Hossain Sayedee on January 20, 2013. These applications were filed to review the order dated 14 January 2013 denying the request to inspect all process and summons issued to the 19(2) witnesses and to recall the Prosecution Witnesses No 28 (Helal Uddin, Investigation Officer) and Defence Witness No13 under Rule 46A of the International Crimes Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2010.
Mizanul Islam said that Prosecution adduced some documents on December 5, 2012, just one day before closing the Defence Arguments by virtue of section 19(4) of the ICT Act 1973. Mizanul Islam argued that they did not get any chance to Cross examine IO on those documents and for interest of justice they should be given opportunity to cross examine the IO (PW-28).#
The Tribunal continued to hear Mizanul Islam’s Closing Arguments on behalf of the Defense.
In the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury the Tribunal summarily rejected two applications filed by the Defense. One of them was an application to issue contempt proceedings against Ahmed Ziauddin (the foreign legal expert implicated in the Skype controversy) under section 11(4) of the ICT Act 1973. The second was an application seeking explanation from the Attorney General as to whether Ziauddin was officially appointed by the Tribunal to be a legal expert or not.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee: Defense Closing Arguments
The Tribunal warned the Defense to complete their Closing Arguments within today’s session. In reply Abdur Razzaq said that they had only completed their arguments for 7 out of 20 charges. If the Tribunal bound them to sum up their case within today it would prejudice the Accused’s case. The Tribunal stated that as this was the second time the closing arguments were being submitted they did not need to hear as much of the factual summing up and would prefer that Razzaq present his summary of the legal points. Razzaq stated that the Tribunal had requested that they resubmit closing arguments because the bench had been reconstituted after the conclusion of the trial and the current Chairman had not heard the arguments. The Chairman said that he could get the factual summary from the other two judges and suggested that both the Defense and Prosecution should submit written arguments without any page restriction, (previously they had been limitted to 10 pages).
Mizanul Islam continued with the Defense’s Closing Arguments for 4th consecutive day, having begun on January 20, 2013. On January 23, he summed up his arguments based on Charges 6, 8 and 9. Regarding Charge No 8, Mizanul Islam discussed the examination-in chief and cross-examination of prosecution witnesses 1,3,4, 6, 7, 8 and 11. Regarding Charge No 9, he discussed the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of prosecution witness 14.
Charge 6: Looting of the houses of Awami League supporters and Hindues in Parerhat Bazasr)
Mizanul Islam attacked the credibility of witnesses who provided testimony in support of Charge 6. Beginning with Prosecution witness 1, Mahbub Alam Hawlader, the Defense stated that the witness did not complain about this incident in his case which he filed in 2009 in Pirojpur (Exhibit – F). The Defense questioned why he would file this case after 40 years and allege that the Accused committed atrocities in 1971, when he did not mention this incident in the case that was filed before.
Mizanul Islam alleged that during cross-examination PW-1 admitted that he did not actually know Ashrab Ali and that he cannot remember Eusuf Hawlader. Yet thereafter PW-1 claimed that these persons were witnesses of a case filed by him against Delwar Hossain Sayedee previously. Mizanul Islam raised the question as to how a person can claim he does not know a person who is actually a witness in his case.
PW-1 said in his testimony that during the Liberation War he used to provide information to the Shundorbon Freedom Fighter’s Camp. Mizanul Islam tried to prove that he had poor knowledge of the Razakars, Peace Committee and Freedom Fighters and that this cast doubt as to whether he was really an informer.
Mizanul Islam argued that PW-1 claimed in cross-examination that he was appointed by the Shundorbon Freedom Fighter Camp on May 7, 1971 and went to the the camp during Liberation War more than 50 times. Mizanul Islam described this claim as unrealistic due to the poor communication facilities, distance and location of the Camp. Mizanul Islam alleged PW-1 was not in fact a freedom fighter and only began claiming that he was in 2006. The Defense claimed that PW 1 trying to change his role in history for his own benefit. The Defense also argued that PW 1’s statistics about the number of killing in Pirojpur is unrealistic. The Defense sought to further discredit him by arguing that PW-1 admitted in cross-examination that he was convicted in a dowry case filed by his first wife.
Regarding Mizanur Rahman Talukdar (PW- 3), Mizanul Islam argued that PW-3 made general allegations against Sayedee. He claimed that the witness is biased as he admitted during cross-examination that he is a leader of the Awami League and doing construction business which requires political favor.
Regarding Sultan Ahmed Hawlader (PW-4) the Defense argued that his testimony did not support the report published in newspapers. Mizanul Islam discredited him by arguing that he admitted in cross-examination that he was convicted in a theft case. Additionally, the Defense noted that he had claimed ) that went to see the atrocities of the Army on the relevant day. The Defense argued that this is unrealistic – he was not from Parerhat and it is not realistic that any civilian in a war time situation would go to see the atrocities of the Army out of curiosity. Additionally, PW 4 claimed that he gave his statement to the Investigating Officer in PW 6’s house, but the IO said that his statement was recorded in Rajlakhi School camp. Furthermore, PW 4 admits that his testimony is based on hearsay.
Regarding Abdul Manik Proshari (PW-6), Mizanul Islam questioned how he come to the conclusion that due to the destruction committed by the Pakistani he suffered a damage of 10 lak thaka, where he admitted previously that he could not recall the price of the wood and tin at that time and did not ask his father about these costs. Mizanul Islam noted that PW-6 claimed that the Razakar Bahini was formed after the formation of the Peace Committee, but that this is not true and has been contradicted by other PWs. The Defense argued that in his testimony PW-6 said his brother is 30 years younger than him, which is impossible. Mizanul Islam also said that PW-6 falsely claimed his father had no business. The Defense argued that there is a contradiction between the statements of Prosecution witnesses, the Investigating Officer and Exhibit-Ekusher Chokh. .
The Defense then addressed prosecution witness 7, Mofiz Uddin Proshari. They noted that he claimed that he went to Sundorbon after the alleged incident; however Manik Proshari did not corroborate that claim. Mizanul Islam alleged that PW-6 and PW-7 gave contradictory information about the time of incident. Mizanul Islam argued the testimony of PW-7 contradicts with Exhibit-W. Additionally PW 7’s claim that he was present at the time of looting contradicted the testimony of PW-8.
Mostafa Hawlader (PW-8) said that Delwar Hossain Sayedee had committed looting in shops where other PWs said Delwar Shikder or Delu Shikder had committed looting. Mizanul Islam argued that PW-8 said that the Parerhat became independence under the leadership of Ruhul Amin Nobin, whereas other PWs said Parerhat became independent under the leadership of Mejor Ziauddin. During cross-examination he admitted that he is an Awami League activist and Manik Proshari is also an Awami Leage activist.
Abdul Jalil Sheikh (PW-11) claimed that Delu Razakar (another name the prosecution alleges stands for Sayedee) and others captured Kutti and Mofiz then looted the house of Manik Prashari and set the house on fire. However, PW-8 said Kutti and Mofiq came to the spot after observing Manik Prashri’s house on fire. PW-11 said that he cannot recall the name of any other shopkeeper who used to do business with Sayedee. Mizanul Islam said that while the Prosecution alleged that Sayedee went into hiding after 1971, PW-11 claimed he saw Sayedee in Parerhat 5 to 7 years after the Liberation War.
The Defense also discredited testimony provided regarding Charge No 9 by Abdul Halim (PW-14) . In his testimony he said that he saw Delwar Hossain Sayedee and others to entered into his house and set his house on fire. During cross-examination he admitted that he is an activist of Awami League.