14 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings, Kamaruzzaman Cross-Examination of PW 18

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings against Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Cross-Examination of PW 18 (Accused Present)

The Tribunal first heard a request for more time on behalf of the Home Minister, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, who is facing contempt charges based on comments made about the timing of verdicts to be issued by the Tribunal.

The court then proceeded to the case against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman wherein defense counsel Mr Kafil Uddin Chowdhury resumed the cross-examination of PW-18, Mr Abdur Razzaq,  the Investigation Officer of the case. 

Contempt Proceedings Against Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir
Mr Mustafizur Rahman Khan, appearing on behalf of the Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir,  informed the court that his client was out of the country and that time is required for preparation of a statement on his behalf. The court adjourned the matter and fixed 23.02.2013 for hearing o the same.

The Awami League veteran is faced with contempt proceedings due to his comments at a program organized by the Bangladesh Mission in Cairo, Egypt. As reported by three newspapers, the Minister predicted the delivery dates of the International Crimes Tribunal’s delivery of Molla’s verdict followed by that of Sayeedi’s. The Tribunal passed a suo moto order requiring the Home Minister to submit an explanation of his comments within 10 days and opined that such comment coming from a responsible minister is unfortunate and is equivalent to tarnishing the image of the lawfully constituted independent judicial forum.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman

Before proceedings began, Defense counsel for Kamaruzzaman’s case, Mr Kafil, was questioned about the reason for his absence a day earlier. The Tribunal stated that such excuses will not be tolerated in the future. The judges stated that they had received information that the violence yesterday had ended after mid-day and told the counsel that he should have appeared at 2pm.

The Defense continued the cross-examination of PW-18, Mr Abdur Razzaq,  the Investigation Officer of the case. The Defense drew the witness’ attention to various volumes of documentary evidence and exhibits submitted by him in connection with the case including. The Defense questioned the Investigating Officer about inconsistencies in the documents and sought to undermine the reliability of the Officer’s testimony and evidence. The witness was previously cross-examined on February 12.

At the beginning of the cross-examination, the Defense Counsel brought into the IO’s attention the various inconsistencies in the 1987 and the 1989 editions of the book “Ekatturer Ghatok o Dalal ra Ke Kothay” (Exhibit-8). When asked whether he verified the information with any historian or specialist the witness replied that he had not  but that he had talked with Shahriar Kabir, one of the editors.

When asked about the place and date where and when the accused became the organizer in Mymensing, Sherpur the witness replied that the question had been investigated  but the exact date could not be determined. The Investigating Officer testified that no list of Rajakars and Al-Badr members could be found dating back to 1972 could not be found because it had been destroyed after the BNP-Jamaat and 4 party alliance came to power in 2001. The witness furhter testified that he did not find any documents related to the many cases filed in the courts after liberation.

The witness was asked whether he had evaluated the book titled “Ekattur er ghatok o dalal ra” (The miscreants and collaborators of seventy one) by Azadur Rahman Chandan and other books listed in the seizure list. The Defense has stated tha Kamaruzzaman’s name is not found in the list of Al-Badr members on page-114 of the book.

The Defense also drew the witness’ attention to Volumes 1 and 2 and Exhibits 2 and 3. He acknowledge that they do not contain the name of Kamaruzzaman. He additionally admitted that in Exhibit-4 there is no information about the arrest of Kamaruzzaman or any subsequent legal steps against him from any court. The Defense pointed out that materials merely refer to Al-Badr in Mymensingh and the Prosecution assumes that this is the same Kamaruzzaman being named directly. The Defense said the same applies to Exhibits 10 and 11, which are the same news with different headlines.

Asked about who and how the tele-message was received as stated in Exhibit-6 , Daily Shongram dated 16 August 1971, the Investigating Officer replied that he wrote to the Daily Shongram but was told that all documents from 1970-1975 were damaged. The Defense further suggested that the title/heading of Exhibit-6 was typed by the Investigating Officer.

The Defense brought the witness’s attention to the 8th Volume, pages 2522 and 2603, which contains the Amrito Bazar Potrika dated 16 April 1971 and 25 April 1971. The Defense pointed out  inaccuracies in these newspaper reports. The Defense also suggested that the Bhorer Kagoz from the year 2007, exhibited as Exhibit-15, was published 37 years of independence and its contents and correctness have not been verified. Further questions posed to the Investigating Officer highlighted the fact that Prof. Syed Abdul Hannan, local Awami leader Ziaul Haque, Emdadul Haque Hira, and Mushfiquzzaman, were referred to in the report but were not examined by him.

Finally, the Defense suggested that the address and and name of Kamaruzzaman’s father are different from what the Investigating Officer alleged in Item No. 287.

At one point the judges reiterated the Tribunal would not vary from its factual findings on historical matters as expressed in its last two judgments (in the case of Abul Kalam Azad and Quader Molla). They stated that these findings may be altered or reversed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, but not by this tribunal.  The comment was made when the defense counsel was arguing about historical events.

The Tribunal fixed February 17 as the next date for hearing despite the counsel’s request to be excused on Sunday.