28 January 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Prosecution Witness 17 documentary evidence

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman – Direct examination of prosecution witness 17 (Accused Present)

The Tribunal heard the prosecution’s application to submit further evidence in its case under section 9(4) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.  In addition to extracts from newspapers that refer to the accused Muhammad Kamaruzzaman as a leading figure of the then operational Al-Badar high command, the prosecution also requested the admission of classified documents collected from the Bangladeshi National Security Intelligence (NSI) containing a list of collaborators who were arrested in Dhaka  after the Liberation War for allegedly  assisting the Pakistani Army. The prosecution claims to have obtained the list on 8 March 2012. The Defense is scheduled to make a counter submission regarding the issue tomorrow, following which the tribunal will give its decision as to the admissibility of the evidence.

The prosecution then called for PW-17 Amena Khatun, the Documentation Officer and Departmental Head of Muktijuddho Jadughor (Liberation War Museum). 

She confirmed that the Investigation Officer of the case, Monowara Begum seized a range of documents on 3 March 2011 from her custody in the museum. Among the seized documents were letters of correspondence between Pakistan command and local administration, including allotment letters to the District Commissioners noting that the Rajakars were granted funds from the Governor’s Special Relief Funds to support their operation.

When asked about the relevance of these documents the prosecution counsel responded that these documents will reaffirm matters of common knowledge relating to 1971 and shall establish that the Rajakars and Al-Badar members acted as auxiliaries of the Pakistani forces. The seized documents also include a book named “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” (Where are the collaborators and miscreants of 71), a book first published in February 1989. Page 111 and 112 refers to the accused Kamaruzzaman as the lead organizer of Al-Badar during the war of liberation. However, during the brief cross-examination by the defense counsel, Amena Khatun stated that she is not aware of all the contents of the documents given to the investigation officer. Whereas the prosecution wanted all the above mentioned documents to be exhibited as evidence, the judges opined that they merely relate to matters of common knowledge and shall not be exhibited as one single document. However, if the prosecution is willing, relevant segments of the documents may be separately incorporated as individual exhibits. The rest will be retained by the tribunal for its perusal.

Upon the conclusion of Amena Khatun’s testimony, comprising both direct and cross examination, ICT-2, adjourned for the day.