Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman – Re-examination of prosecution witness (Accused Not Present)
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings senior Defense counsel Mr Tajul Islam expressed his concern and dissatisfaction regarding access and entry of defense counsel at the Tribunal gate.
The court then moved to Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s case wherein the prosecution witness PW-16, Mr. Azabuddin Miah, was re-examined by the Prosecution. Mr. Miah is the Assistant Librarian of Bangla Academy (Newspaper Branch) and is testifying before the tribunal as to the authenticity of various newspapers collected from the Bangla Academy archive by the Investigation Officer.
Blocked Access to the Tribunal for Defense Counsel
Senior Defense counsel Tajul Islam notified the Tribunal that junior defense counsel members had been stopped that morning at the Tribunal gate and not allowed immediate entry. He submitted that the Registrar of the International Crimes Tribunal asked the defense lawyers to submit photographs and alleged that this request was done in an impolite and discourteous manner. He questioned the lack of equal treatment of Prosecution and Defense at the ICT gates, alleging that it is only the defense counsel who are being harassed in the name of security issues. The prosecution counsel contested this claim, saying that they face identical security procedures.
The tribunal called for the Deputy Registrar to look into the matter. He informed the Tribunal that the defense counsels were only temporarily stopped in order to be reminded about submitting their photographs. The junior counsel were subsequently allowed in upon the instruction of the Tribunal.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
The court then moved to Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s case wherein the prosecution witness PW-16, Mr Azabuddin Miah, was re-examined by the Prosecution. Mr. Miah is the Assistant Librarian of Bangla Academy (Newspaper Branch) and is a seizure list witness testifying before the tribunal as to the authenticity of various newspapers collected from the Bangla Academy archive by the Investigation Officer Abdur Razzak Khan. During today’s re-examination, Mr. Miah referred to two additional newspapers, the Daily Purba Desh and the Daily Bangla, issues of 21 December 1971, both of which featured the news of arrest of 15 razakars (collaborators). Following the re-examination, he was only briefly cross-examined by the defense. They asked who collected these newspapers, in reply to which he stated that they belonged to the Bangla Academy. The aforementioned newspapers have been exhibited as Exhibit-10 and 11.
The prosecution counsel also submitted before the court two books in connection to the case against Mr Kamaruzzaman; “Juddhey’s Araley Juddho” by Professor Abu Sayeed and “Juddhey Juddhey Jibon” by Mina Farah. Page 162 of Professor Abu Sayeed’s book contains express reference to the name of Qader Mollah whereas page 220 of the latter states that Kamaruzzaman prepared the detainees in the prison for torture and murder.
Suo Motto Order of Notice of Contempt Proceedings Against Jamaat Leaders
After lunch, the court passed a suo-moto order pertaining to comments made by Jamaat leaders during its public engagement on 4th February, a day prior to Qader Molla’s judgment. The comments came from its Central Executive member, Mr Hamidur Rahman Azad MP, and the Assistant Secretary General of the party’s Dhaka city unit Mr Selim Uddin. The former had allegedly threatened the start of a civil war if the controversial tribunal delivered any verdict. The latter had also publicly commented that the tribunal cannot exist anymore. Such comments were reported by the Daily Star and Prothom Alo a day later. The Tribunal took the matter into cognizance, opining that no one can threaten the nation with a civil war and no one can obstruct the proceedings of the Tribunal. The court passed an order requiring the accused to appear before the court in person and to submit a written explanation through their lawyers within the stipulated time.