20 March 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Adjournement in Kamaruzzaman and Mujahid, Alim Cross-Examination of PW 13

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman – Extension of Time for Production of DW
  2. Chief Prosecuor vs. Mujahid: Adjournment
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs Abdul Alim: Cross-Examination of PW 13

The case against Mujahid was listed for the hearing of the Defense review application and for the examination of the prosecution witness. However, the Defense counsel requested adjournment of court due to the death of one attorney’s mother. The Prosecution did not object to the same and the court adjourned the matter till Sunday, 24 March 2013.

In the Kamaruzzman case the Defense also sought additional time as the Defense witness could not be presented before the court. The Defense counsel said that they could not produce the witness because travel into Dhaka from Sherpur was not possible due to the hartals. The Tribunal adjourned the matter for one day and ordered that the witness be produced on 21 March 2013. At this point, the Tribunal expressed its dissatisfaction for the repeated requests for additional time from the D, particularly with regard to the timely production of Defense witnesses. The Defense argued often granted the Prosecution similar adjournments, and had even given 24 days of additional time for the production of PW-12. Thus they argued that there is an imbalance between the court’s attitudes toward the two parties and that the Defense were being prejudiced. The Tribunal rejected this argument and stated that because the onus to establish an independent case lies with the Prosecution and not the Defense, the Tribunal granted the Prosecution additional time. They said the Defense cannot be allowed to delay the proceeding by referring to such examples.

Finally, in the case Abdul Alim, the defense cross-examined PW-13. Prosecution witness 13 is the nephew of PW 2 Laily Begum and is the grand child of martyr Doctor Abul Kashem, who according to the Prosecution’s case was killed on 25July 1971 in Kuthibari at the instruction of Abdul Alim. The witness was examined by the prosecution on Sunday, 17 March 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 13 The Defense conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 13, Dr. Kazi Ejaz Ahmed, who is the grandson of a victim of the Liberation War and the nephew of Prosecution witness 12. The testimony of the witness was used by the Prosecution to corroborate that given by Prosecution witness 12 in support of Charge 12.

The witness testified that many people amongst those who lived in Kazipara during the 1971 war are still alive. He stated that In 1970, Mofiz Chowdhury was the Awami League candidate for the witness’s constituency, however, he did not remember who the President and Secretary of Jaipurhat Mohkuma Awami League were. He acknowledged that many of his friends and family, including his father and grandfather, were supporters of Awami League in 1971.

In response to the Defense counsel’s suggestion that the witness’s father had a good relationship with Mr Alim as the Chairman, the witness replied that his father had the kind of relation that one would expect between a chairman and local president. He stated that his grandfather was not Awami League president or secretary during 1971, but acknowledged that he did belong to the Awami League Party.

Upon being asked by the Defense, the witness said that he does not know in which Union his area belongs to stated that it is a village in Jthe aipurhat Police Station district. He claimed that he has a National ID card and HSC certificate but does not remember his date of birth as written on them. He stated that he gave his statement to the Investigation Officer in his house and acknowledged that no one was present during the interview.

The witness claimed that on 27 July 1971 his eldest aunt, Fatema Begum, came to his house with her husband. She had three sons and one daughter, all of whom are alive. The witness stated that the distance between their house and Jaipurhat rail station was 1 Kilometer.

The Defense suggested that Alim was not a Rajakar and the witness’ grandfather was never abducted by Alim. Rather, the Defense claimed the witness’ grandfather and five or six other men died during an encounter with the Pakistani army in Teghor Bridge towards the end of July.

After the cross-examination came to an end, the court adjourned Alim’s case until 08.04.2013.