Monthly Archives: March 2013

20 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Defense Closing Arguments, Civilian Command Responsibility

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee – Two Defense Applications (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Closing Arguments on Civilian Superior Command Responsibility (Accused not Present)

On March 20, 2013 Defense counsel for Delwar Hossain Sayedee submitted two applications. The first was a request for bail in regard to two cases filed against Sayedee in the Pirojpur Sadar Police Station Case No 9(8)09 and Zianagar Police Station Case No 4(9)09. The second application requested certified or authenticated copies of the FIR, Charge Sheet, Statement of witnesses and other relevant documents related to these cases in Pirojpur Sadar Police Station and Zianogor Police Station. The Tribunal fixed 21 March 2013 to hear the applications.

In the Gholam Azam case the Tribunal heard Defense counsel Imran Siddiq’s response to the Prosecution’s submissions on the issue of whether a civilian can have superior command responsibility. Prosecutor Turin Afroz submitted arguments for the Prosecution on 18 March 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam:
The Defense argued that the doctrine of command responsibility as described under Section 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973 is not applicable to civilians.

Interpretation of Law and Intent of Legislation
In support of the Defense’s position, Imran Siddiq argued that the legislative intent behind the passage of the ICT Act 1973 and its subsequent amendments showed that command responsibility was only applicable to military or auxiliary forces. He submitted that when the section 3(1) of the ICT Act 1973 was amended in 2009 to add “individual or a group of individuals” to the court’s jurisdiction, Parliament omitted to amend section 4(2) which codifies the doctrine of superior responsibility or command responsibility. Therefore the Defense argued the Prosecution cannot rely on section 4(2) to claim that an “individual or group of individuals” are liable due to command responsibility. Imran Siddiq argued that the text of Section 4(2) clearly limits the doctrine’s application to commanders and superior officers of military and auxiliary forces, showing that it is not applicable to civilians. He emphasized that the use of the terms ‘commander or superior officer’ and ‘persons under his command or his subordinates’ in Section 4(2) support the Defense’s position. Additionally, the Defense cited to Section 134 and 135 of the Penal Code, the Army Act of 1952, Air Force Act of 1953, Navy Ordinance of 1961, Bangladesh Rifles Order of 1972, Battalion Ansar Act of 1995 and Armed Battalions Ordinance of 1976. Imran Siddiq noted that none of these Acts have used the term of “superior officer” or “commander” to describe the authority of a political party leader or a civilian.

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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.

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