The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman
The day’s proceedings started later than usual because the Defense witness scheduled to testify in Kamaruzzaman’s case was not initially allowed to enter the tribunal premises in a car. The Defense Counsel accompanying him was adamant that the witness would not get out to walk because of the prior incident in which a Defense witness was allegedly abducted outside the Tribunal. After the situation was resolved the Tribunal heard Defense witness 5 provide direct testimony and allowed the Prosecution to conduct their cross-examination.
After the witness’ testimony was concluded the Chief Prosecutor began their Closing Arguments in the case.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
Testimony of Defense Witness 5
Mr Abdur Rahim, Defense witness 5, testified before the Tribunal. During his direct examination, the witness testified that he is the son of Late Didar Ali and is a permanent resident, living in Mymensingh District. He is an elderly businessman of the locality. He claimed to have been a freedom fighter during the Liberation War and the General Secretary of Shecchashebok Bahini (Volunteer Forces) formed after the Liberation War. Mr. Rahim testified that he never heard Kamaruzzaman’s name referenced in connection to the Al-Badr or Rajakar forces in Mymensingh District.
On cross-examination the Prosecution asked the witness whether he is aware that there were forces both in favor and against the liberation in the 1971. He replied that he was aware of that fact. In response to the Prosecution’s questioning, the witness admitted that that he does not hold any certificate or document stating that he is a freedom fighter. Later, he contradicted his previous statement by saying that he did not know that there were Rajakar and Al-Badr forces during the Liberation War. The Prosecution concluded their cross-examination, suggesting that the witness came to give false evidence in support of Kamaruzzaman and that he was actively concealing the truth.
Prosecution’s Closing Arguments
The Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The lead Prosecutor began his submission by remembering the father of the nation Banglabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; the four national leaders, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq, Maolana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani; and all freedom fighters. The Chief Prosecutor then provided an overview of the nation’s historical background, starting from the British India period of struggle, the period of the joint East and West Pakistan, and the emergence of independent Bangladesh. He stated that the then existing Jamaat-e-Islam and Islami Chatra Shongho parties supported and assisted the Pakistani Army and Bihari community in the persecution of the Bengali society. The Prosecution proclaimed that it is widely known that Defendants Professor Gholam Azam, Motiur Rahman Nizami, and the accused of the instant case, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman played a role in the formation of the Peace Cimmittee, and yet they have managed to escape justice for 40 years. He concluded by saying that it is time to finally achieve justice. He then allowed another Prosecutor to continue with the arguments.
The Prosecution continued presenting the historical background leading up to the Liberation War, including the Language Movement, the Four Point Protest, and the 1970 general election. The Prosecution reiterated that Pakistan’s Aiyub Khan and General Niazi termed the Bengali people as a low class people destined to be ruled.
At this point the Tribunal asked the prosecution counsel to address the particular charges and evidence against the accused instead of presenting history and facts of common knowledge. The Prosecution then said that 40,000 Rajakars opposed the independence movement and that Major Riyaz (referred to by Prosecution witness 2) and Major Aiyub (referred to by Prosecution witness 3) played central roles in Mymensingh, Kamaruzzaman’s alleged area of operation. He submitted that Kamaruzzaman founded Rajakar camps, torture cells and the local Peace Committee.
The Tribunal then allocated 25-27 March for the completion of the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments. They also stated that the Tribunal would adhere to its own findings about the historical aspects of the cases and points of law, which had been established in its two previous judgments (in the case of Abul Kalam Azad and Quader Molla), unless the Appellate Division reverses their findings. The court then adjourned for the day.