3 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary: Contempt Proceedings

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings vs. Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir
  2. Contempt Proceedings vs. M.K. Anwar

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir
Before the tribunal proceeded to the day’s listed item, Mr Tajul Islam, a senior Defense counsel, brought comments made by the Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir at a program organized by the Bangladesh Mission in Cairo, Egypt to the court’s attention. As reported by three of daily newspapers including Naya Diganta, Amar Desh and the Daily Sangram, the Minister forecasted that the International Crimes Tribunal will deliver its second verdict within this week and the third one in the following week. Upon hearing the counsel’s submission that such comments are derogatory to the public image of the Tribunal and will lead to an adverse inference regarding its fairness, the court asked the Defense to submit a written application before the Tribunal seeking requisite measures for the matter. The court reminded the Defense that the Prosecution had done the same against MK Anwar. Mr Tajul Islam insisted that the Alamgir’s comment injures the Tribunal’s image and hence the Tribunal is best equipped to address the matter suo moto,.

After lunch therefore, the Tribunal pronounced its order requiring the Home Minister to submit an explanation of his comments within 10 days and opined that such comments, if true, coming from a responsible minister are unfortunate and are equivalent to tarnishing the image of the lawfully constituted independent judicial forum. The Tribunal stated that commentary regarding the schedule of verdicts falls within the perimeter of a subjudice matter and no one should make such derogatory remarks.  While passing the aforementioned order, the honorable Chair of the tribunal also cautioned Jamaat leaders from making any comment that might lead them to face similar “show cause” notice.

The Tribunal-2 recently disposed of similar contempt proceedings against another minister, Mr Suranjit Sen Gupta, with a warning and is currently conducting contempt proceedings against a veteran  leader from the opposition party Mr M K Anwar. Sub-judice is a latin term which translates to “under judgment”, meaning that a particular case or matter is under trial or being considered by a judge or court. Commenting on sub-judice matters is considered to be inappropriate in England and Wales and most legal systems with common law origin including Bangladesh.

BNP Leader MK Anwar
Counsel for MK Anwar submitted a prayer for time, stating that he (counsel) was only appointed a day earlier and that he has received instruction from his client to contest the contempt proceedings initiated against him. In order to do so additional time is necessary for preparation. The court, upon stating that the BNP leader could have taken the easier pathway of seeking apology as opposed to contesting the matter, adjourned the matter until 26 February 2013, allowing 3 weeks of time for preparation.