Monthly Archives: April 2013

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

16 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Prosecution Reply to Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman – Prosecution Reply – Closing Arguments

Our summary of the Prosecution’s reply to the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case is forthcoming. We are consulting Prosecution documents to make sure that our coverage is detailed and accurate. Please check back here for the full length post which we will publish shortly.

15 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Conclusion of Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

On April 15, 2013 the Defense for Gholam Azam concluded their Closing Arguments. Imran Siddiq presented the Defense’s arguments based on complicity. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq presented arguments on the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. The Defense then summarized the Charges against Gholam Azam before the Tribunal. After the completion of the Defense’s case the Tribunal asked the Prosecution to submit their reply. The Prosecution requested one day for preparation of their response. The Tribunal accepted the request and adjourned the proceedings until 17 April 2013.

After the lunch break the Tribunal turned to the Nizami case. Prosecutor Mir Iqbal informed the Tribunal that Prosecution witness 4 had been present in the morning but was now feeling sick and could not testify. The Tribunal therefore adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 16 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Complicity
Count 13 Charge No 4
The Defense submitted that the Prosecution failed to prove that Gholam Azam’s press briefing substantially contributed to the commission of Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Prosecution has failed to adduce evidence in the form of witnesses or documents to establish that identified members of the Pakistan Army and/or its auxiliary forces had heard or read Gholam Azam’s statement prior to committing Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Defense referred to the testimony of the Investigation Officer and submitted that during cross-examination the witness admitted that he not say whether any person had committed atrocities upon hearing or reading Gholam Azam’s statements and speeches.

Count 14, Charge 4
The Prosecution has based Count 14 of Charge 4 on Exhibits 48 and 122  which quote Gholam Azam as saying the damage that was caused by the separatists cannot be remedied merely by chanting slogans. He also alleged that there were those who were colluding with India and involved in arson, looting and violence throughout the country because they wanted an independent East Pakistan. Gholam Azam alleged that in order to assist the separatists and the banned Awami League, India was smuggling infiltrators and arms into the country. Gholam Azam also praised the Pakistani Army for their role in preserving the unity of Pakistan.

The Defense argued that no where in these reports is there proof that Gholam Azam expressed support for the criminal activities of the Pakistani army, nor is there any proof that he urged the members of Jamaat or others to engage in repressive and criminal activities. The Defense further submitted that Gholam Azam’s statement that chanting of slogans would not be enough to redress the damage caused by the separatists does not amount to urging members of Jamaat to commit Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity as alleged in the Charge Framing Order. Continue reading

15 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammed Kamaruzzaman: Final Defense Closing Arguments

The Defense for Muhammad Kamaruzzaman presented the last of their Closing Arguments for the case. Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique began the submission on behalf of the Accused, Kamaruzzaman. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq appeared and informed the Tribunal that he would resume his portion of the submission after the lunch break. The Defense highlighted five weaknesses of the Prosecution’s case: 

  •  Evidentiary weakness of Charges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Contradictory witness testimony 
  • Inconsistencies between courtroom witness testimony and original statements to the Investigating Officer
  • Credibility issues
  • Failure to Fulfill Requirements of Doctrine of Command Responsibility

Defense counsel Ehsan began his submission with arguments on further legal points involved in Charge-2. He then addressed inconsistencies and contradictions in the witness testimony and documentary evidence submitted in support of Charges-3, 5, 6, and 7.

After lunch, Abdur Razzaq made some final closing remarks regarding Charge 2 before turning to Charge 4.  He identified and outlined the substantial contradictions between the testimonies of the relevant witnesses. The Defense argued that the Prosecution has primarily relied on oral evidence and did not produce a lot of documentary evidence. Razzaq stated that given numerous inconsistencies and contradictions, the testimony of the Prosecution witnesses leaves too much doubt for a conviction to be justified. The Defense claimed that Kamaruzzaman has been targeted solely because of his political affiliations.

Charge-2:
Definition of “Other Inhumane Acts” as Crimes Against Humanity
Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique claimed that the charge of complicity in Charge-2 has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He submitted that the term “other inhumane acts” is not a catch-all category and cannot be used to include any type of action not otherwise enumerated within the statute. He cited to the ICTR Trial Chamber’s decision in The Prosecutor v Clement Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, para 583, states that the category should not be utilized by the Prosecution as an all-encompassing, “catch-all” term.

Continue reading