Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs Gholam Azam: Hearing of 3 Applications, Beginning of Prosecution Closing Arguments (Accused not Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Quader Chowdhury: Cross-examination of PW 20 (Accused Present)
In the case of Gholam Azam the Tribunal heard three applications filed by the Defense regarding the presentation of further defense witnesses, permission to produce expert foreign witnesses, and a request for bail. The Tribunal rejected the first application and said it was not necessary to address the second two applications at this time. At that point they instructed the Prosecution to begin its Closing Arguments. Chief Prosecution Gholam Arief Tipo began with the historical background of the Liberation War. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the Gholam Azam’s case until tomorrow, February 18th.
In the afternoon the Tribunal heard the conclusion of the Defense’s cross-examination of Sheikh Morshed Anwary, prosecution witness 20. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury himself conducted the end of the cross-examination.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
The Defense submitted three applications. The first application was a request to be allowed to submit a new list of Defense witnesses and for permission to depose those witnesses before the Tribunal. The Defense claimed that those previously identified were afraid to testify because of the ongoing protests at Shabagh, were thousands have gathered calling for the death penalty to be implemented against all those on trial. Tajul Islam further submitted that Defense was ready to produce Defense witnesses today.
The Tribunal rejected the application saying that the appplication did not mention that the Defense was ready to produce Defense witnesses, but only sought time to supply a fresh list of witnesses.
The second application requested permission for the appearance and deposition of expert witnesses General Sir Jack Deverell and Professor William Schabas. Additionally the application requested that Defense witnesses who would otherwise refuse to testify on grounds of fear of safety be allowed to provide their deposition via video link. Alternately the application that the Tribunal accept the Defense’s expert reports into evidence pursuant to Rule 46A of the International Rules of Procedure 2010. The third application was a request for bail.
Regarding the last two applications the Tribunal said it was not necessary to hear these applications at this point and that if it found it to be necessary at a later date it would fix a time for the hearing.
Thereafter, the Tribunal instructed the Prosecution to begin its closing arguments. Chief Prosecution Gholam Arief Tipo began closing arguments by reading out the historical context leading up to Liberation War in 1971. He then described atrocities committed by Pakistani Army and their accomplices from March 25 to December 16, 1971. Prosecutor Zead al-Malum also confirmed that Gholam Azam has been charged on 61 counts under 5 charges. He stated that Charge No 1 is for conspiracy, Charge No 2 for planning, Charge No 3 for incitement, Charge No 4 for complicity and Charge No 5 for murder and torture. [See here for the original Charge Framing Order] Zead al-Malum further submitted that the Prosecution had exhibited 523 documents in support of these five charges, and that the Defense exhibited 205 documents.
The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings in the Gholam Azam’s case until February 18, 2013.
During the Prosecution’s submission the Tribunal requested that both the Prosecution and Defense serve the Tribunal a copy of their submissions. They additionally requested that both parties provide an index identifying which charges are supported by which documents, witness testimony, and other evidence so that the Tribunal can better follow the arguments.
As the Tribunal was adjourning Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam requested that the Tribunal not schedule the case for tomorrow as he wished to hear the Prosecutions arguments in order to make an appropriate reply, but that he would not be able to attend tomorrow on personal grounds. He did not state that his reason was the Hartal called by Jamaat, though most assumed that it was. The Tribunal rejected his request and instructed him to send a junior counsel to take notes if he was unable to attend himself.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury
After the lunch break Salauddin Quader Chowdhury himself continued the cross-examination of Sheikh Morshed Anwar (PW-20), which was begun by Defense counsel Huq Hena the day before.
Anwar stated he does not know the distance between Rahmatganj (Anwar’s home) and ‘Good’s Hill’ (Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s house). He said that Good’s Hill is located near the Abdus Sattar road. Anwar further said that he doesn’t know whether or not Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was in the Good’s Hill for more than 6 weeks at a time or more than three times a year between 1960 and 1974. He admitted that before 1971 he never saw a photo of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in any newspaper or media. He admitted that his father Mozaffar was a district level commander of Muslim League National Guard from 1944 to 1947 and that at that time Fozlul Quader Chowdhury may have been the General Secretary of Muslim League. He admitted that Mozaffar attended the Sylhet referendum with the National Guard Regiment under the leadership of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury. He said that his father in 1965 took part in the election for BD (Basic Democrat) Membership. He said that while Bonghobondhu (Sheikh Mojibur Rahman) was the minister of Pakistan government his father Mozaffar was MNA (Member of National Assembly). He denied that Bonghobondhu was not the minister of Pakistan government and that his father was not MNA. He denied that the funding Secretary of Chittagong Awami League, M.A Aziz and General Secretary Johur Ahmed Chowdhury were his father’s superiors and asserted that his father was their peer. Anwar admitted that his father was a well-known face, who gave speech in the Laldighi field on March 25, when Laldighi was full of the general public.
Anwar admitted that Hathazari intersection, where the alleged incident took place, was generally a crowded place and the time of the alleged occurrence was 11am. Anwar said he doesn’t know whether at the time of the alleged incident any people recognized his father or not. He said that it was about 8 to 10 days after the alleged incident that he found out that his father and brother were arrested. He said he doesn’t know of any other detainee who was as well-known as his father. He said their confectionary shop was in Kodomtoli and they lived in Rahmatganj in their own house. He denied that in 1971 their bakery was not similar in standard to Sevoy Confectionary, League store, Hati Bekary, Huq Bekary and Goni Bekary. He denied that none of these owners owned cars in 1971. He said he didn’t know if before 1971 one had to have government permission to buy a car or not. He stated that from March 25 to April 1 all of his family members were in Chittagong city. He denied the suggestion that his father did not go to the temporary camp of the Awami League to help the soldiers who came out from UPR camp and Sholo Shohor East Bengal Regiment.
Anwar stated that on April 1, 1971 he and his brother Khurshid and uncle Jafor Ahmed went to Koi village from Shodorghat by the river. He said he heard the proclamation of independence read by Major Ziaur Rahman from the Koi village. He denied that his father did not go to Koi village. He said that in the early morning of March 26, while he was returning from the shop to Rahmatganj he saw the Pakistani army coming towards Chittagong city and Bengali soldiers of the UPR Regiment heading towards Kalurghat. He said that the retired Major who he asked abut his father was named Afridi. He said that Afridi searched for his father and brother inside the cantonment and army camp and told him that they were not there. Anwar said he didn’t know whether the name of this retired army officer was in the list of 195 Pakistani army personals (who got clemency by tripartite agreement) or not.
Anwar again admitted that his allegations of what had happened to his father and brother is based on hearsay. He denied that his uncle and cousin did not actually tell him anything about what had happened to his father and brother. He said he didn’t know who was in the car at the time of the incident or whether they stayed in Janali Chowdhury’s house for two days and then met with Fozlul Quader Chowdhury or not. He admitted that his brother-in-law Haider Ali had good relation with Fozlul Quader Chowdhury. Anwar denied that Haider Ali or any other members of his family did not actually go to the Good’s Hill to get his father Mozaffor and his brother Alamgir. He denied it that he had lied in claiming that after March 26, 1971 the only road to leave Chittagong was through Kalurghat. He denied that it was not possible after March 26, 1971 to go Hathazari from Chittagong via Sholo Shohor, Byazid Bostami and Cantonment. Anwar also denied that from March 26 to April 17 his family members, including his father, did not actually go to Rawzan. He said that he doesn’t know whether Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was renowned like his father Mozaffor or not. He said that he cannot say whether Salauddin Quader Chowdhury had any other social, or political identity except that he was the oldest son of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury. Anwar further claimed that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was known to housewives. Anwar denied that he did not actually hear about the incident and just repeated the incident at the direction of the Prosecution.