Today the Tribunal was in recess. It will reconvene tomorrow, January 28.
Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Mubarak Hossain: Report on Progress of Investigation (Accused not Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwary Hossain Sayedee: Resubmission of Defense Closing Arguments (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Application for Contempt Proceedings (Accused not Present)
Tribunal-1 extended the bail period of Mubarak Hossain, whose case is currently in the investigation stage, until February 12, 2013. The Tribunal directed the Prosecution to submit its Progress Report regarding the investigation by February 12, 2013. The Prosecution stated that they received the Investigation Report on January 24, 2013 and need two weeks to submit the Formal Charge.
On January 24, 2013 Mizanul Islam, defense counsel for Delwar Hossain Sayedee completed the Closing Arguments based on the charges and Abdur Razzaq began the defense arguments based on legal points.
The Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury filed an application under section 11(4) of the ICT Act 1973 requesting contempt proceedings be brought against the Daily Jugantor, its editor and publisher Salma Islam, and staff reporter Swapan Dash Gupta.
Today the Tribunal was scheduled to hear matters in the following case:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: examination-in-chief of prosecution witness (Accused was Present
However, the court first accepted the Prosecution’s submissions for contempt proceedings to be issued against MK Anwar, a political leader of the BNP Party (an opposition party.)
In accordance with the Court’s verbal instructions on 23 January 2013, the Prosecution submitted a written application in regards to a statement made by MK Anwar seeking contempt proceedings to be issued against him. On 20 January 2013 MK Anwar, a day before ICT-2’s first verdict was issued, commented in his speech marking the 77th birth anniversary of late president Ziaur Rahman that the government is staging the ongoing trials as a mechanism of vengeance against the leaders of opposition parties. Mr Rana Das Gupta, the Prosecution counsel, reiterated that the BNP leader’s comment is a malicious one, aimed to jeopardize the confidence of the masses as to the neutrality, independence and fairness of the tribunal. The prosecutor submitted that unless some sort of action is initiated against him, he is likely to continue to make such comments. He noted that MK Anwar had previously made similar comments, for which he was warned by Tribunal-1.
The Prosecution advocated for punishment of MK Anwar under section 11(4) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, which accords the tribunal the authority to punish any person who obstructs or abuses its process or disobeys any of its orders or directions, or does anything which tends to prejudice the case of a party before it, or tends to bring it or any of its members into hatred or contempt, or does anything which constitutes contempt of the Tribunal. The Tribunal upon hearing the learned prosecutor retired till lunch to pass an order.
After lunch, the Tribunal pronounced its order requiring MK Anwar to submit an explanation through his lawyers within 7 days. They opined that such comments pertain to subjudice matters, or matters currently under consideration by the Tribunal, and therefore may adversely influence the public perception about the ICT. The Tribunal further observed that the independent judiciary shall be kept segregated from politics in the interest of upholding the rule of law. MK Anwar shall be obliged to submit his explanation no later than 3 February 2013.
It may be noted that Mr Suranjit Sen Gupta, the ruling party’s influential policy maker is also facing contempt proceedings akin to that now faced by Anwar, for previously making comments on sub-judice matters.
Tribunal-2 did not hear the examination-in-chief of the prosecution witness in Ali Ahsan Mujahid’s case and adjourned for the day.
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.
The Tribunal heard the following cases:
- Contempt Proceedings against Suranjit Sen Gupta
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Cross examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Examination-in-Chief of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, Mr Rana Das Gupta, counsel for the prosecution brought to the court’s attention the comments made by MK Anwar, a member of BNP standing committee on January 20th, a day before the announcement of ICT-2’s first judgment. Mr Gupta submitted that the BNP veteran’s comment – that the ongoing trials of the war criminals have been staged by the government to serve its political purposes – will adversely affect the public perception as to the tribunal’s independence. The chair of the tribunal in response to the prosecution’s averment opined that such a statement is purely a political one and it is correct to say that the Government’s decision to form the International Crimes Tribunals was an executive decision and that is a part of the ruling party’s political manifesto. The Tribunal asked the prosecution to submit a written application precisely enumerating questionable statements made by Gupta.The court made it clear that it will only proceed with contempt proceedings if MK Anwar’s comment appears to be on a sub-judice matter. At this point, the court expressed its appreciation for Defense counsel Tajul Islam, for his comment to the media whereby he stated that the judgment in the case against Abul Kalam Azad Bacchu will not affect the decision of other pending cases.
Counsel for Mr Suranjit Sen Gupta requested adjournment of the hearing due to the unavailability of senior counsel. The court accepted the request and stated that it will fix and notify the next date for hearing.
The court then moved to Abdul Alim’s case wherein the prosecution witness PW-9, Mr Jahidul Islam was cross examined by the defense counsel, whose core line of questioning was aimed to undermine the credibility of the witness, suggesting that the testimony has been concocted at the Prosecution’s direction and that the witness could not have seen or heard of the participation of the accused. The case was then adjourned until 4 February 2013.
In the Kamaruzzaman case, Mr Md Azabuddin Miah, the Assistant Librarian of Bangla Academy testified as Prosecution Witness 16. He stated that Mr Abdur Razzak Khan, the Investigation Officer of the case collected a total of 257 paper extracts from daily and weekly papers published during the 1971 liberation war. Of these documents, only 6 extracted items have been exhibited for the tribunal’s perusal in support of the prosecution’s case against the accused. The tribunal disallowed the defense from referring to any other newspaper extracts from the bundle that has not been so exhibited.
Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossein Sayedee: Resubmission of Defense Closing Arguments (Accused was Present)
Mizanul Islam, Defense counsel for Sayedee, continued the resubmission of the Defense’s Closing Arguments for the 3rd consecutive day. The Defense began their closing arguments on January 20, 2013. On January 22, The Defense summed up arguments based on Charges 5, 14 and 16. Chairman A.T.M Fazle Kabir directed the Defense to complete their arguments within tomorrow’s session (January 23, 2013).
ICT 2 court was in recess today fter issuing the first verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday,