Monthly Archives: April 2013

18 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Rescheduling of PW 16, Accused Present
  2. Prosecution vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid : Cross-examination of PW 17, Accused Present

Today the Prosecutor in the case against Abdul Alim, Mr Rana Das Gupta, requested an adjournment of the case until the 22nd or 23rd of April, due to difficulties in producing Prosecution witness 16. He stated that the witness had encountered difficulty in reaching Dhaka and therefore was not present. Defense counsel, Mr Ahsanul Huq Hena, added that the 23rd would be appropriate as it has been announced as a hartal day and it is unlikely that the Defense counsel in other cases will appear. The Tribunal agreed and scheduled 23 April 2013 for the next hearing.

The Tribunal then turned to the case against Mujahid, in which the Defense resumed its cross-examination of  Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer Abdur Razzaq. The Defense’s core line of questioning aimed at highlighting the various procedural flaws in the investigation process and underlying deficiencies that undermine the reliability of the officer’s findings.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid: Cross-Examination of PW 17
The witness testified that he went to Gopinath Shaha’s house at 11 a.m. He confirmed that Gopinath Shaha’s three siblings, Khirodh Shaha, Shakti Shaha (PW-13), and Kanon Bala live in India. The Investigating Officer admitted that Prosecution witness 13, Shakti Shaha, periodically comes to Bangladesh and that this fact was not included in the statement of Gopinath Shaha.

The Defense suggested that during the investigation it was discovered that Gopinath had previously filed a case regarding his father’s death. They alleged tat this fact was being concealed because Mujahid’s name was among the accused in the prior case. The Investigating Officer denied the allegations. He admitted that he did not determine the date of Shakti Shaha’s last visit to Bangladesh prior to the witness’ date of testimony. Continue reading

18 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami Cross-Examination of PW 4

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami: Cross-Examination of Prosecution witness 4

Today the Defense concluded the cross-examining of Prosecution witness 4, Habibur Rahman Habib. The Tribunal then adjourned the case until 25 April 2013.  The Tribunal had scheduled the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 27 in the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case for today. However, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until 21 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Cross-Examination of PW 4
Today the Tribunal heard the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 4, former freedom fighter Habibur Rahman Habib.

Habib testified that he and about 15 or 16 members of his freedom fighter group were present when a group of Razakars were captured in September. He stated that he did not know what happened to the detained Razakars after they were handed over to their unit commander. He could not remember any of the Razakars names, except for one Shorab and Shitu. The witness claimed that 17 or 18 Razakars were detained in total from Dublia in Chortarapur Union. Habib said that their unit commander Shahid Selim was present when these Razakars were detained. He did not see any of the Razakars after the Liberation War because they were killed after being detained. He acknowledged that during the Liberation War he did not see Motiur Rahman Nizami. The witness claimed that he first saw Nizami at Nogorbari Hat when he was elected as a Member of Parliament after the war. Habib said that he did not talk with Motiur Rahman Nizami before or after the Liberation War or when Nizami was minister.

Continue reading

Weekly Digest 10: March 24-28

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

The Tribunal was in recess on 26 March 2013 in honor of Bangladesh’s independence day. Additionally, opposition parties declared hartals on the 27th and 28th of March. Therefore our coverage of those days is gathered from media sources as well as discussions with the Defense and Prosecution. Our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days due to security concerns.

Tribunal 1:
Proceedings in Tribunal 1 continued to center on the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case this week, with counsel completing their submissions regarding factual issues and Charge 5. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present arguments on legal issues and Charges 1-4 next week. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witnesses 22 and 23. Additionally, The Tribunal heard Chowdhury’s Defense application for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2:
Tribunal 2 dealt with two cases this week. In the Kamaruzzaman case, Defense witness 5 completed providing testimony, and the Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The Tribunal also heard testimony from Prosecution witness 17, the Investigating Officer, in the Mujahid case.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 10 – March 24-28

Weekly Digest Issue 9: March 17-21

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

Hartals again interrupted our coverage of the ICT trials. Sunday, 17 March 2013, was a national holiday, and the Tribunal was in recess. Hartals (strikes) were called by the opposition party coalition on Monday and Tuesday, and due to security concerns our researchers were unable to attend. Therefore, our summaries for those days are drawn from media sources as well as conversations with the Defense and Prosecution. On Thursday, both Tribunal 1 and Tribunal 2 adjourned early, after it was announced that the President of Bangladesh had passed away on Wednesday.

Tribunal 1
In Tribunal 1, the Defense and the Prosecution in the Gholam Azam case presented in-depth arguments regarding the applicability of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility to civilians. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 21, who began providing testimony the previous week. The Defense for Sayedee presented two additional applications: one for bail, and the other or certified copies of documents from two criminal cases in the district court system. The Tribunal also heard the examination of Prosecution witness 3 in the Nizami case. Finally, citing the growing insecurity in Dhaka, Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury applied for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2
Tribunal 2 also experienced significant delays due to hartals, absence of counsel, and illness of witnesses. The court heard the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 13 in the Abdul Alim case and granted an extension for the production of a Defense witness in the Kamaruzzaman case. Additionally, the Tribunal dealt with ongoing contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 9 – March 17-21

17 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Closing Arguments, Prosecution’s Reply

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Request for Adjournment
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs, Gholam Azam: Prosecution’s Reply to Defense Closing Arguments, Defense Rebuttal

Because today was fixed for the Prosecution’s reply in the Gholam Azam case, Ahsanul Huq Hena, Defense counsel for Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, requested adjournment of the Chowdhury case until 21 April 2013. The Tribunal adjourned the proceedings for the day and scheduled the case to be heard tomorrow, 18 April 2013.

Today in the Gholam Azam case the Tribunal heard the Prosecution’s reply to the Defense’s Closing Arguments. Prosecutors Sultan Mahmud Simon, Turin Afroz and Haider Ali submitted arguments. After the completion of Prosecution’s submissions the Defense was given 25 minutes for their rebuttal. After hearing both sides the Tribunal officially took the case under consideration awaiting verdict.

Prosecution’s Reply
Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon began by arguing that counsel for the Accused had presented only one theory of defense, being that Gholam Azam had supported Pakistan during the Liberation War with the purpose of maintaining the unity of Pakistan. Simon questioned whether such support could be considered lawful after Bangladesh’s declaration of independence on 26 March 1971. The Prosecution submitted that the Tribunal must consider the entirety of the case against Gholam Azam in light of the historical events of 1971. He submitted that Prosecution proved each element of the alleged crimes through sufficient oral and documentary evidence. The Prosecution also asserted that paragraph 6 of the Formal Charge discussed the Doctrine of Superior Responsibility. Prosecutor Simon read out sections 9, 10, 16 and 19 of the ICT Act of 1973 and talked about judicial notice.

The Tribunal Chairman asked whether the Prosecution had exhibited the documents (including some reports published in international media regarding the atrocities committed in Bangladesh in 1971) referred to in the Formal Dharge. The Prosecution replied that seven books had been submitted and that the Tribunal had been asked to take them under judicial notice. The Defense dissented and claimed that the Prosecution did not exhibit the documents that the Tribunal is specifically requesting.

The Prosecution argued that Gholam Azam supported Pakistan despite being aware of the atrocities committed by the Pakistani army on 25 March 1971. Prosecutor Simon referred to ‘Jibone Ja Dekhalm’ (Exhibit-H) and also submitted that the atrocities committed by the Pakistani occupation forces were known internationally at the time. The Prosecution claimed that the Defense failed to produce a single document showing that Gholam Azam criticized the atrocities committed by the Pakistani occupation forces. Prosecutor Simon claimed that this proves Gholam Azam’s involvement in and support for the atrocities.  Continue reading

16 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami Examination-in-Chief of PW 4, Abdus Sobhan Submission of Investigation Progress Report

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  2. Investigation of Moulana Abdus Sobhan

In the Nizami case the Prosecuttion and Defense respectively conducted the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Prosecution witness 4, Habibur Rahman Habib. The case was then l adjourned until 18 April 2013.

In the ongoing Investigation of Moulana Abdus Sobhan the Prosecution a progress report.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami – Prosecution witness 4
Today the Tribunal heard testimony from Prosecution witness 4, the former freedom fighter Habibur Rahman Habib.

Prosecution’s Examination-in-Chief
Habibur Rahman Habib first testified about his personal details, including his profession, family, and education. He stated that in 1971 he was Zilla Muktijuddha Commander, the Pabna district commander of freedom fighters. The witness claimed that until 10 April 1971 Pabna had been free from Pakistani occupation. On 11 April 11 the Pakistani forces took control of Pabna. The witness stated that he, his elder brother Shahidullah and as many as 300 or 400 students fled to India. In India he took shelter at Kachuadanga Camp in Shikarpur. Later he went to Deradun with a 45 member team where they received 45 days of training. Then they left Deradun to return to Pabna.

Habib testified that while in India he learned that Moulana Kasimuddin, the headmaster of the Pabna Zilla School, had been killed. The witness stated that he had been close friends with Shibli, the son of Moulana Kasimuddin. The night of 19 August 1971 Habib said he went to meet Shibli to convey his sympathies and Shibli told him the story of his father’s murder.

Habib testified that Shibli told him that on 4 June 1971 his father, Moulana Kasimuddin, told the family members that he would not be safe in his house because Motiur Rahman Nizami had made a list of people to be killed and Kasimuddin’s name appeared on the list. Kasimuddin attempted to hide himself and boarded a bus from Tematha. However some Jamaat leaders identified him on the way and handed him over to the Pakistani Army. Habib testified that Kasimuddin was then taken to the Nurpur army camp. Shibli told Habib that his father was physically and mentally tortured at the camp. Shibli told him that his mother, brother and sisters went to Nurpur camp and begged for the life of Kasimuddin. Shibli also said that his family members begged Nizami for mercy and asked him to free Kasimuddin. Shibli told Habib that in reply Nizami told Kasimuddin’s wife “Tell your husband to give training to the freedom fighters.” Habib testified that Kasimuddin had given training to students with dummy rifles during the Oshohojog Movement at Pabna Zila School. Continue reading