Today Tribunal 2 issued the second verdict of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. The verdict was issued against Abdul Qader Molla who was tried on 6 counts of Crimes Against Humanity.
The Tribunal found Qader Molla GUILTY on 5 of 6 Charges. He was found NOT GUILTY of Charge 4. The court sentenced Qader Molla to 15 years imprisonment for Charges 1, 2, and 3. They sentenced him to life imprisonment for Charges 5 and 6.
In July of 2010 Abdul Qader Molla was arrested in connection with a murder and arson case filed in 2008 by an injured freedom fighter in Pallabi Thana. On October 2, 2010 he was detained on charges of crimes against humanity under the authority of the International Crimes Tribunal and has remained in custody since then. Having completed its investigation, the Prosecution filed the Formal Charge against Abdul Qader Molla on 18 December 2011. Ten days later, on December 28, 2011 The Tribunal took cognizance of the charges against Qader Molla and set a date for the official Charge Framing Order. On April 16th the case was transferred from ICT 1 to ICT 2. Finally, on May 28, 2011 the Charge Framing Order was passed by ICT 2. Qader Molla was charged with 6 counts, alleging direct commission of Crimes Against Humanity, complicity in Crimes Against Humanity, and Aiding and Abetting Crimes Against Humanity.
The Prosecution called and examined a total of 12 witnesses in support of the charges against Qader Molla. On an application by the Prosecution, the Defense was limited to calling 6 witnesses to provide testimony as to the defense case and plea of alibi. The examination and cross-examination of all witnesses was concluded on December 13, 2012. Closing arguments in the case were completed on January 17, 2012, at which point the Tribunal took the case into consideration until the issuance of its verdict.
Qader Molla faced 6 Charges, all relating to Crimes against Humanity. The red highlighting below indicates a guilty verdict on the specified charge, while the blue indicates not guilty.
- Complicity to Commit Murder as a Crime against Humanity: for acting as the mastermind in the murder of Pallab, a civilian;
- Complicity to Commit Murder as a Crime against Humanity: for providing moral support and encouragement to the gang of perpetrators responsible for the murder of Meherunessa and others;
- Complicity to Commit Murder as a Crime against Humanity: for culpable association of the accused with the principals responsible for the murker of Khandoker Abu Taleb, a pro-liberation civilian;
- Abetting, or in the Alternative, Complicity to commit murders as Crimes against Humanity: Ghatar Char and Bhawal Khan Bari killings, prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the identity of the accused as the responsible party;
- Murder as a Crime against Humanity: for accompanying and assisting the principals with full “awareness” in committing a massacre of unarmed civilians at Alubdi;
- Murder and Rape as Crimes against Humanity: for physically participating in the attack targeting Hazrat Ali and his family members and for rape committed by members of the attacking group;
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. The full judgment is 132 pages long (as compared to 35). We have obtained copies of both the summary and the full judgment.
Legal Conclusions in the Judgment
In its verdict the Tribunal addressed a number of legal issues that have been raised in this and 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; Legislative Intent behind the ICT Act of 1973 and the retroactive incorporation of “individual” and “group of individuals” into the Act; the Tripartite Agreement and impact of immunity granted to 195 Pakistani POWs; the purpose of the Collaborators Order of 1972 vs. the ICT Act of 1973 and allegations of malafide prosecution; Prosecution for Aiding and Abetting where the Principal is Not Charged; and Definitions and Elements of the Crimes (particularly the element of “widespread” and “systematic attack” on a civilian population as an element of Crimes against Humanity, and the requirement of knowledge).
Another post will be dedicated to a more detailed examination of the legal conclusions contained in the verdict.