18 March 2012: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Short Coverage due to Hartal

NOTE: Due to security concerns during the hartal our researchers were not able to attend proceedings. This summary is compiled from media coverage and the input from the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Prosecution Arguments on Civilian Command Responsibility (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Saluddin Qader Chowdhury – Cross-examination of PW 21

On 14 March 2013 the Chairman of Tribunal 1 scheduled the 18th for the hearing of arguments from Prosecutor Turin Afroz and Defense counsel Imran Siddique regarding the issue of whether a civilian could have a superior command responsibility. Today Prosecutor Turin Afroz submitted her arguments. Imran Siddique was absent at the Tribunal due to the hartal. A junior Defense counsel who was present submitted an application for adjournment for two days on behalf of both senior Defense counsel Mizanul Islam and Imran Siddique. Thereafter the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until March 20, 2013 and imposed the cost of taka 5,000 for the delay. The Tribunal directed the Defense to pay the amount along with the taka 1,000 cost which was previously assigned and due March 20, 2013.

Our researchers hope to collect the Prosecution’s written submission regarding command responsibility and will post notes about it.

In the Chowdhury case the Defense counsel was absent and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 21, Abul Bashor, himself. Thereafter Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 19 March 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury – Cross-Examination of PW 21
During cross-examination Abul Bashor testified that his father died on 1968. He said that he passed his SSC examination in 1964 from Kadurkhil United Muslim High School and that he resided in his village home while a student of the school. He stated that from his village home the head-quarters of the Gomdandi was 2 miles away. He testified that his SSC certificate and national ID listed the same date as his date of birth. Bashor denied that the SSC examination centre which was located at the Kanungo was well known in Chittagong as one of the top centres for plagiarism.

Bashor testified that he had been a student of Chittagong City College and resided in one of his relative’s house. He said that at that time the Principal of the City College was Rezaul Karim. He denied that in December 1966 Rezaul Karim was not the principal of the City College. He said that he passed HSC from this college in 1966 and at that time his examination centre was in Chittagong Commerce College which was under the Comilla Board. He said that began his job at a steel mill in 1967. He testified that he does not know where Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and his father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury were in 1964. He could not say who was the MP (Member of Parliament) for that area in 1964. He said that Fazlul Quader Chowdhury was the speaker of the National Council in 1964. Bashor said that he did not know whether at that time Fazlul Quader Chowdhury lived in Islamabad with his family members or not. Bashor said that he did not go to the Goods Hill. He said that he knew that Fazlul Quader Chowdhury resided in Goods Hill but doesn’t know whether Fazlul Quader was the owner of the house or not. Bashor said he did not know whether Fazlul Quader handed Goods Hill over to anyone in 1971 or not. Bashor testified that among his classmates who studied with him in Chittagong City College, Kamal who resides in Kamal Bazar, Aminul Huq who resides in Kadurkhali, and Eunus who resides in Mohra are living.

Bashor testified that during the Pakistan-India war he received training at the Chittagong Collegiate School for use of the light machinegun. The training was given by the Pakistani army with the purpose of protecting Pakistan. Bashor said that during the training he did not receive any remuneration from the Pakistani government. He said that while he was working in the Steel Mill he lived there as well. He stated that on 25 March he along with others under the leadership of Mojid MNA (Member of National Assembly) took a stand to protect the Chittagong port area. Bashor further testified that at that time Pakistani army fired at them and some people died. However, he admitted that he does not remember the name of person among the attacking group. Bashor said that he does not know whether there is any book written about the incident or not. Bashor denied that no one killed in Chittagong port area on the night of 25 March. He testified that the Bengalis of the army camp at Soloshor, EPR camp at Halisohor and Dampara Police Line took control of Chittagong city.

Bashor testified that he was in Potengha, Chittagong until 12 April 1971 and that he helped people who came from the Sholoshar army quarter. He further said that on 12 April he left Chittagong through Kalurghat to go to his village home. He admitted that at that time there was only one usable road on which to leave Chittagong, Kalurghat Road. Bashor testified that they had no organized group to help the Bengali army but most of them helped them (Bengali army) voluntarily. He testified that on 31 March the Pakistani army replaced Bangladeshi flag in the court building with the Pakistani flag. He said that he does not know who controlled Goods Hill, Ishpath Hill, Batali Hill, or CAOB hill at thtat time. He said that the distance of Gumdandi head-quarters from Chittagong City was 8 to 9 kilometers. He testified that from Chittagong to Kalurghat there was a concrete road but from Arkan road to Gomdandi there was a dirt road.

Bashor testified that in the first stage there were only 5 to 6 persons in their group, but later on they expanded and they attacked Gomdandi Razakar head-quarters on August 28. Bashor said that he went to India in August and after receiving training he left with a roup of 233 persons. Bashor claimed he was the commander of this group. He testified that Gomdandi Razakar head-quarters was located at the south side of Gomdandi rail station at the CO office. He said that he did not know whether the Razakars of that camp were given salaries or not. He estimated that the Razakars were probably organized in May. He said he did not know whether the Razakars Ordinance was passed on 2 August 1971. He said that on 28 August, at 12 am, his group attacked the Razakar camp; however, he said that he did not know how many Razakars or Pakistani troops were killed in that fight. He testified that 76 freedom fighters took part in the attack and that it continued half an hour. Bashor said that after he left for Karuldanga Hill which was 5 to 6 kilometers away and that he stayed there one day. Thereafter he left for his home. He additionally testified that he left 3 persons behind and that among them two died and one was injured. Bashor said that they tried to take the injured person with them but failed. He testified that he left for India on 31 August 1971.

Bashor admitted that on 29 August, at about 9 or 10 am, he was at Karuldanga Hill and learned that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury along with the Pakistani army had come to the and spat on the face of Wazed, subsequently taking him to Goods Hill. He testified that he he does not know whether Salauddin Quader Chowdhury or his father worked any job or not. He said he did not know whether Salauddin Quader Chowdhy had any political identity or not. Bashor added that he heard from others that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was involved with Anti-Liberation War activities. He said that he couldn’t answer whether he (Bashor) wrote to Mukti Barta on 23 February 2011 to instruct them to write  ‘Martyr’ instead of’ ‘Late’ before the name of Akhlas. He admitted that he never filed a case against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury until now. He said that the Investigating Officer met with him in the Chittagong office of freedom fighters.

Bashor denied that that failed to file a case because he had no evidence other than hearsay. He denied that the Prosecution had given him 20,000 taka for his testimony. He asserted that his allegations are true. He said that he and Bongopal Dash edited a book named ‘Mukthijudhe Boalkhali’ which was published on 16 December 2012.