20 Feb 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Closing Arguments, Nizami Cross-Examination of PW 2

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Gholam Azam: Applications, Closing Arguments (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami (Accused Present)

In the Gholam Azam case the Defense submitted three applications. In the first they requested permission for the appearance of foreign expert witnesses General Sir Jack Deverell and Professor William Schabas, either in person or via video link. Alternatively the Defense requested that the Tribunal accept their expert reports into evidence under Rule 46(A) of the Rules of Procedure for the ICT. The Defense additionally filed another application for bail, stating that Gholam Azam is over 90 years old and is in poor physical condition. They claim that he is not receiving proper treatment in the prison cell of the hospital. Finally, the Defense submitted an application requesting permission to inspect the record of orders. The Defense does not receive all orders passed by the Tribunal automatically and stated that they needed to review the record in order to make sure that they had requested the necessary orders. The Tribunal then heard the Prosecution’s closing arguments for the 4th day. The Prosecution focused on Charges 2, and 3.

In the Nizami case the Tribunal heard an application filed by the Prosecution requesting permission to submit additional documents relating to Charge 16 and other charges. The Defense objected that there is no scope to augment reports after investigation, since Tribunal took cognizance base on complete investigation report. The Defense also stated that they did not receive the investigation reports. Thereafter, Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined PW-2, Zahir Uddin Jalal alias Bichchu Jalal. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceeding of Nizami case until March 6, 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
Defense Applications
The Tribunal heard three applications from the Defense. The first was an application for permission to present expert witnesses General Sir Jack Deverell and Professor William Schabas to depose before the Tribunal or for permission to depose them via video link. Alternatively the Defense requested that the Tribunal accept their expert reports as evidence pursuant to Rule 46A of the International Rules of Procedure 2010. Defense Counsel Tajul Islam submitted that the Tribunal is not bound by the technical rules of evidence and if Tribunal allowed these witnesses no one would be prejudiced. Prosecutor Zead-al-Malum objected saying that there is no scope to take additional witnesses in this stage as the Tribunal is now hearing the closing arguments.

The Tribunal also heard another application for bail. Tajul Islam submitted that Gholam Azam is now over 90 and in poor physical health. He stated that the accused is not getting proper treatments in the prison cell of the hospital.

The Tribunal also heard an application filed by Defense to inspect the record of orders. Tajul Islam submitted that they need to examine the record to ensure that they had requested the relevant orders. The Tribunal fixed February 26 for passing orders regarding these three applications.

Prosecution Closing Arguments
The Tribunal heard the closing arguments from the Prosecution for the 4th consecutive day. Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon placed his arguments based on Charge 2 (three instances of planning) and Charge 3 (28 instances of incitement).

Charge 2: Planning
Gholam Azam is charged under section 3(2)(f) of the ICT Act of 1973 for planning to commit crimes specified in section 3(2) of the ICT Act, punishable under section 20 (2) of the ICT Act. As alleged in the Charge Framing Order, on 4 April 1971 Gholam Azam and others planned to form an organization named ‘Nagorik Committee’ in order to support the occupying Pakistani forces. This plan was presented to Lt. General Tikka Khan. On 9 April 1971 Gholam Azam and others allegedly formed the Peace (Shanti) Committee in various cities, unions and mohallas and on 4 May 1971 participated in a planning meeting for the purpose of forming units of the Peace (shanti) Committee at various unions of Dhaka city. 

Regarding Charge No 2 Simon submitted that reports of the meeting with Tikka Khan on April 4, 1971 were published in different newspapers on April 5, 1971, in particular he cited Exhibit-33 from the Daily Azad. Simon further claimed that as a professor of political science Gholam Azam knew the consequences of his conduct in taking part in such planning. Simon also cited to different newspaper reports including Exhibit-37, the Daily Azad dated 11 April 1971; Exhibit-101 the Daily Purbodesh dated 11 April 1971; and Exhibit-167, the Daily Azad dated 12 April 1971. He stated that these reports t confirm that a 140 member Peace Committee was formed to assist the Pakistani Army and that Gholam Azam was one of the 140 members. Simon further submitted that Fortnightly Reports and Police Abstract Intelligence Reports also confirmed that a meeting took place on April 4, 1971 and that Gholam Azam was present there.

Charge 3: (Incitement)
The third charge against Gholam Azam is for the crime of incitement under Section 3(2)(f) of the ICT Act 1973, punishable under section 20(2) of the ICT Act 1973. Following the Charge Framing Order, as the Amir (chief) of Jamaat-e-Islami Gholam Azam issued gave inciting statements and speeches directing the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Peace (Shanti) Committee to destroy Hindus, supporters of the Awami League and in all Bengalis who wanted independence and to provide assistance to the members of the Pakistani Army in all possible ways. It is also alleged that Gholam Azam urged the Pakistani Government to take severe measures against the people who wanted independence.

Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon addressed 5 of 28 alleged instances of incitement as charged under Charge 3. Simon argued that, as a head of Jammat-e-Islami, Gholam Azam urged his followers to assist the Pakistani army and destroy “miscreants” or armed Indian intruders in order to preserve the unity of Pakistan. He cited to Exhibit-2, the Daily Shangram dated 18 May 1971 in support of these allegations. He also argued that Gholam Azam was present in different meetings as shown by Exhibit-60, the Daily Pakistan dated 18 May 1971. Simon submitted that on April 10, 1971 Gholam Azam gave an inciting speech on the radio which was published in different newspapers the following day (Exhibit-102, the Daily Purbodesh dated 11 April 1971). Simon further argued that Gholam Azam described the atrocities of Pakistani army as an unpleasant incident (Exhibit-105, the Daily Purbodesh dated 23 April 1971) and on April 7, 1971 gave a joint statement with other leaders calling on supporters to restrain the Indian intruders (Exhibit-36, the Daily Azad dated 8 April 1971).

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
The Prosecution submitted an application for permission to submit additional documents in support of Charge No 16 and other charges. Mizanul Islam, Defense Counsel of Motiur Rahman Nizami, objected that there is no scope to augment the investigation report at this stage as the Tribunal took cognizance based on a complete investigation report. Defense further submitted that they had not received the investigation reports. Prosecutor Mir Iqbal submitted that these documents were in their possession but they did not produce them before the Tribunal.

Thereafter, Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined Prosecution witness 2, Zahir Uddin Jalal, alias Bichchu Jalal, a former freedom fighter. After concluding his cross-examination the Tribunal adjourned the case until March 6, 2013.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 2
Jalal testified that the parents of Bable are deceased and he does not know their names. He further stated that they were Hindu but that Sahnewaz was Muslim. Jalal said that he was in Eskaton on March 2, 1971. He said that he doesn’t know where Bodi, Jweal, Rumi and Azad studied but he knew them as they were in Eskaton or used to visit Eskaton. He said that he went to the house of Azad after 1971 and at that time his father was not alive. Jalal said that he went to the house of Rumi after 1971 and met with his father and mother. Jalal said that he met with Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul (Prosecution Witness 14) in 1972. Jalal said that he did not inform Rumi’s parents that he met with Rumi in Nakhalpara since they already knew about the incident.

Jalal said that he his brother mounted the Bangladeshi flag from the top of their building when Magistrate Johiruddin Bhuiya, Magistrate Nizamuddin Ahmed, Magistrate Sayed Monir Uddin, Pangabi ADC Afzal, Additional Police Super Azizul Huq Bachchu and many others were present. Jalal said that in the early morning of March 26 he was directed by the Pakistani Army and ADC Afzal to remove the flag and hand it over to ADC Afzal. Jalal further said that they removed the pro-independence writing from the of the building and instead wrote different verses of the Qaran there on April 11, 1971.

Jalal said that Luthfur was the leader of Defense Party and that after his death Jalal’s brother took the leadership of the Defense Party. He said that after March 25 the Defense party became inactive. He testified that before that their duty was to ensure peace in the area. He stated that he did not receive any armed training as a member of Defense Party. He said that in 1971 he (Jalal) went to Agortola, Melaghor located in Sonamura District for the first time in the last week of May or first week of June. He denied that training was not given to the persons under 18. He stated that he entered Bangladesh in June by the Comilla border. He further said that in the first half of June the Bichchu Bahini attacked the Continental Hotel in Dhaka by grenade. He said that at that time he took part in the operation under the leadership of Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya. Maya was a student of the University. He said that their second attack was on an army jeep in front of Darul Kabab Hotel, Moymonsing. He said that the time gap between the first and second attack was 6 or 7 days. He said that after he returning to Dhaka in June he stayed there until September 2, 1971. He said he doesn’t know when the Bichchu Bahini attacked the power station located in Ulon, Khilgaon in Komolapur. He said that during the Liberation War he had not heard about the RD or RV but had heard of the PK.

Jalal said that he cannot remember anyone by the name of Hafiz in the Bichchu Bahini. He said that he took part in different operations with Gazi and Nilu. He said he doesn’t know whether the Daily Bangla published any writing regularly on the Bichchu Bahini and said he did not read the Daily Bangla. He said that MR Mukul from Chorompotro used to describe their group as the Bichchu Bahini. Jalal asserted that Sheikh Mozibur Rahman was supreme commander of Liberation War. Jalal said that it was a false accusation that he was not not a member of the Bichchu Bahini. He also denied that he had knowledge about the regular writings published in the Daily Bangla but is denying it because his name was not published there as a member of the Bichchu Bahini.