Today the Tribunal heard the following matters:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Request to adjourn due to illness of the Prosecutor (Accused Not Present)
- Contempt Proceedings vs. Dr Ahmed Ziauddin: (Accused Not Present)
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Qader Molla – Application for Review, Request for Certified Copies of Order for Appeal (Accused Not Present)
Today the the Prosecution in the Alim case requested adjournment for the day because the lead prosecutor is ill and in the hospital. The court then addressed contempt proceedings against Ahmed Ziauddin, the expatriate Bangladeshi lawyer alleged to have been involved in the skype and email conversations with former Tribunal 1 Chairman, Nizamul Hoque. The Tribunal also summarily rejected Qader Molla’s application for review of the 5 February 2013 Judgment. Thereafter they heard a request from Qader Molla’s Defense counsel for certified copies of orders from the court for purposes of preparing his appeal.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim:
The Prosecution requested adjournment of the case due to the illness of the lead prosecutor. The Defense stated that they had no objection and further requested that the case be adjourned until 27 February 2013 so as to allow Abdul Alim to visit his home district. The court adjourned the proceedings of the case until 24 February 2013.
Contempt Proceedings vs. Ahmed Ziauddin
The Tribunal addressed the contempt proceedings against Dr Ahmed Ziauddin, the Brussels based Bangladeshi international law expert who allegedly had extensive email and Skype conversations with the former Chairman of Tribunal 1 regarding ongoing cases.
On 17 January 2013, Tribunal 2 passed an order, suo moto, requiring Mr Ziauddin to give an explanation as to why contempt proceedings should not be issued against him for attempting to obstruct the independent proceedings of the Court. The Tribunal did not specify which comments were the basis for contempt, and there has been a ban on the republication of the contents of the alleged conversation. The Tribunal stated that such comments could create a negative impression in the mind of the general public regarding the role and independence of the Tribunals.
Today, the court passed an order allowing Ziauddin 10 weeks to respond, in accordance with his his request for time as communicated to the tribunal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ziauddin submitted the application seeking time to the Bangladesh consulate in Brussels. The Tribunal fixed the matter for hearing on 30 April 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Qader Molla
Application for Review
Defense counsel for Qader Molla filed an application for review of the final judgment yesterday. Today the application was summarily rejected by the Tribunal.
The Defense expressed concern that the item was listed in the course list so quickly when other similar orders took significantly more time to be heard by the Tribunal in previous cases. The Defense requested that the hearing be at a later date or at least at a later hour to enable the senior counsel for the defendant to attend in the hearing. The Defense also asked to be allowed to adduce additional evidence through further witnesses in order to disprove the case of the prosecution and the oral evidence of the prosecution witnesses. They argued that with additional witnesses the defense would would establish Qader Molla’s alibi.
The Prosecution argued that the same arguments had previously been heard by the court and that this application was waste of the court’s valuable time and resources.
The Tribunal ruled that the petition for additional time was a mechanism to delay the proceedings and would not be allowed. Additionally, they stated that It is not mandatory to disprove each and every fact portrayed by the prosecution. Moreover, the Tribunal said the Defense did not present a new ground to be addressed and their arguments had already been denied previously and Section 9(4) of the ICT Act only allows the prosecution to to produce additional witnesses, no such provision exists for the defense. They also stated that the Defense had not relied on the argument of alibi.
Thereafter the court summarily rejected the application for review and stressed that any repetitive application will be denied instantly and any attempt to delay court proceedings will be met with sanctions.
Request for Certified Copies of Court Documents
Defense counsel Shazzad Ali Chowdhury submitted an application for certified copies of as many as seventy orders that were passed in the case of Mr. Abdul Qader Molla. He said that the copies are required for the preparation of the Appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The Tribunal asked him to identify those orders passed by Tribunal 2 and stated that it would make arrangements for certified copies of such orders to be provided. It stated that orders passed by Tribunal-1 and documents from the pre-trial stage should be collected from the Registrar’s office.