Monthly Archives: May 2013

20 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Abdul Alim PW 20

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – Prosecution witness 20

Today the Prosecution called Prosecution witness 20 to give testimony in the case of Abdul Alim. His examination-in-chief was conducted by Mr Rana Das Gupta. The defense counsel Mr Ahsanul Huq Hena summarily concluded the cross-examination by asking one question.

Prosecution Witness 20: Mr Sardar Md Abdul Hafiz
Examination-in-Chief
The witness is 55 years old and is the brother of a former freedom fighter who has been missing since the war. The witness provided circumstantial evidence. He stated he was was 13 or 14 years of age in 1971. The Prosecution asked the witness about the elections of 1970. He testified that Dr Mofiz Chowdhury, Mr Abbas Ali Khan and Mr Abdul Alim participated in the election of 1970 and that  Chowdhury was elected as the Awami League candidate. He stated he does not remember the party that Alim had represented in the aforesaid parliamentary election.

The witness testified that two of his brothers, Sardar Md Abdul Wazed and Sardar Abdul Awal both joined the War of Liberation in 1971 as freedom fighters. He asserted that because of his brothers’ participation in the independence movement the Pakistani Army and local “Biharis” often raided their house. On 25 April 1971 he stated that two of his brothers, Sardar Abdul Majid and Sardar Abul Bashar, were shot and taken to his cousin Md Shamsul Alam Bashar’s house for shelter. On 26 April at around 9 am., the witness said he heard massive gunfire and arson taking place about one and a half miles away. Upon hearing the gunshots, the witness, his brothers and cousin went on to hide inside the house. Later at around 5 pm, they came out after the shooting had stopped.

The witness also testified that during the first week of September in 1971 he was in classes at Ramdeo Bazla High School when they began to hear shooting. The school head master Mr Moajjem Hossain told everyone to flee. The witness said that on his way back home he saw two trucks surrounded by Pakistani Army. He said that 11 young men were being held on those trucks and that their faces had been inked. After coming home, the witness’ mother asked him to check if his two brothers were in the truck. The witness went back to check but did not see them. The Pakistani Army then got in the trucks and rushed out of Faridpur by crossing its eastern boundary. The witness stated he did not know anything else that occurred. He stated that after the liberation war one of his brothers came home while the others never returned.

The witness claimed that he previously provided his full testimony to the Investigation Officer.

Cross-Examination
The Defense counsel only asked whether the Investigation Officer read out to the witness his recorded statement. The witness said that it had not been recorded.

20 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami PW 8, Mubarak Hossain PW 1

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain

In the Motiur Rahman Nizami case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Khalilur Rahman, Prosecution witness 8. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 21 May 2013.

In the Mobarak Hossain case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Darul Islam, Prosecution witness- 1. The Tribunal then adjourned until tomorrow.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Prosecution Witness 8
Khalilur Rahman, Prosecution witness 8, testified in support of Charge 6. Under the Charge it is alleged that on 27 November 1971 Nizami and members of the Razakars and Pakistani military raided the house of Dr Abdul Awal and other adjacent houses in Dhulaura village. The charge further alleges that after the Pakistani army left, Nizami and his accomplices caught 22 survivors who they killed at the bank of the Ishamoti River. Nizami is charged for his involvement in murder as a Crime Against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act and section 4(1) and 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Examination-in-Chief
Khalilur Rahman testified that in the middle of June he left for India to receive training as a freedom fight. He testified that he returned to Sujanagar, of Pabna, Bangladesh and stayed there 2 or 3 days. After that, at 12 or 12:30 on 27 November 1971, the witness said he took shelter at the house of Dr Abdul Awal located in Dhulaura village in the jurisdiction of Sathia police station. Khalilur testified that at about 3:30 am he heard the sounds of Army boots. He opened the window and saw Nizami, other Razakars and members of the Pakistani occupation force coming towards their house (where they took shelter). He testified that then he opened a North-facing door and went outside. He testified that then he began hearing the sounds of shooting people moving. He heard someone yelling at people to put their ‘hands up.’ Continue reading

19 May 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Contempt Charge Dismissed against Ziauddin

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings Against Ahmed Ziauddin

Today Tribunal 2 passed an order in the contempt proceedings against Ahmed Ziauddin, disposing off the matter but making an official observation. The contempt proceedings were initiated suo moto by the Tribunal on 3 January 2013, following the leakage of Skype conversations between the former Chairman of Tribunal 1 and Ziauddin, a Brussels based legal expert and pro-trial activist. News of the Skype controversy was first reported by The Economist. The Tribunal brought charges of contempt against The Economist, which are still pending. The complete conversations were then printed by the local Daily Amar Desh, which has been shut down by the government following the arrest of its chief editor Mr Mahmudur Rahman on charges related to the Skype controversy. The Tribunal took the contents of the conversation into judicial notice during the hearing of a defense application praying for a retrial in the interest of justice. All applications for retrial were rejected. However, in that ruling the Tribunal noted that if the comments allegedly made by Ziauddin were authentic, they cast the International Crimes Tribunal in negative light by making it look like it lacked independence and was a dictated body. The Tribunal was also critical about Ziauddin’s alleged comments regarding Judge Shahinur Islam, a judge of Tribunal-2, and termed the same as completely unacceptable.

Upon the request of the Tribunal Mr Ahmed Ziauddin submitted his written explanation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  after about four and a half months. Today the Tribunal disposed off the contempt proceedings and decided that they would not proceed with them any further. The Tribunal stated that the truthfulness of the leaked conversations cannot be determined and also noted that Ziauddin neither admitted nor denied the allegations. Nevertheless, the Tribunal observed that it would be unjust to arrive at a decision in regards the authenticity of the Skype documents based on evidence which in itself has been obtained illegally through hacking. The contempt matter against the Brussels based expert has thus been closed and the judges stated in its judgment that it merited no further steps.

The court then adjourned for the day.

19 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – PWs 37, 38 and 39

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases: 

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

In the Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Chapala Rani, Prosecution witness-37; Md Ersadul Haque, Prosecution Witness-38 and Mollah Abdul Hye, Prosecution witness 39. Thereafter, Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena conducted cross-examination. After the conclusion of the cross-examination Tribunal adjourned the case until 21 May 2013.

Prosecution Witness 37
Chapala Rani, the sister-in-law of victims Beni Madhab and Tarapada and daughter of victim Shatish Paul, testified as Prosecution witness 37. She testified in support of Charge 6 which alleges that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury committed Genocide under section 3(2)(c )(i) and 3(2)(3)(ii), as well as deportation as a Crime Against Humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act.

Examination-in-Chief
Chapala Rani, testified that a day before Chaitra Sankranti (last day of Bangla year) in 1971 the Pakistan Army raided their area. At that time she was inside her house. The Pakistani Army knocked on the door of every house and gathered the villagers on the bank of the pond, owned by Shatish Mohazon who is the brother of Khitish Mohazon. Chapala said she and the others were crying. Her brother-in-law Beni Madhab tried to reassure them, saying that the Chairman Makbul and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury were present. However, she said that at that moment they (she did not specify who) opened fire on the villagers. Chapala testified that she became unconscious and her brothers-in-law Beni Madhab and Tarapada and her father Shatish Paul died. Continue reading

16 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Prosecution Closing Arguments

The Prosecution presented their key legal arguments in the case against Mujahid. Prosecutor Afroz addressed a range of legal issues in conjunction Charges 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7. A written outline of the arguments was provided as reference for the Tribunal. The Defense counsel objected because the cover photograph of the outline showed numerous skulls. The Defense argued that such a picture is unnecessary, inappropriate and prejudicial. The Prosecution disagreed, claiming that there is nothing in the law or rules of procedure prohibiting such photographs. The judges agreed with the Prosecutor’s submission, adding that such a photograph will neither be detrimental nor advantageous to the case against the accused and will have no impact on the judicial process.

Prosecutor’s Arguments:
The Prosecution presented arguments on the following issues:

  1.  Legal argument on the absence of victims’ dead body.
  2. Legal argument on ‘extermination ‘ in contrast to ‘murder’.
  3. The doctrine of superior responsibility and how it has been established by the evidence admitted.
  4. Evaluation of documentary evidences and further evaluation of the charges.

The Actus Reus of Murder and Necessity of Victim’s Body as Evidence (relevant to Charges 1 and 5)
The Prosecution began by emphasizing that the bodies of the victims in Charges 1 and 5 were recovered. She argued that the actus reus, of murder requires that the Prosecution prove that the killing itself occurred. Where the body is not found or recovered the killing remains unproved, resulting in the failure of the Prosecution’s case. In this case, Prosecutor Afroz argued that the Defense cannot claim that the actus reus in Charges 1 and 5 has not been proven by reason of failure to find the body of the victims. Continue reading

16 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Mubarak Hossain Opening Statements and Mir Qasem Ali Formal Charge

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  2. Investigation of Mir Qasem Ali

In the Mobarak Hossain case the Prosecution submitted its opening statement. Prosecutor Zahid Imam read out a prepared statement describing Mobarak as the traitor of Akhaura. He described the role played by Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chattra Shangho (student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami), Peace Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams from 25 March to 16 December 1971. The Prosecution alleged that Mobarak was the Razakar commander of Shohilpur, Brahmanbaria in 1971 and that he assisted the Pakistani army in the commission of atrocities.  The Tribunal fixed 20 May for hearing the testimony of Prosecution witness 1 and asked the Defense to submit all the documents, if any, they intend to rely on by 20 May 2013.

In the investigation of Mir Qasem Ali the Prosecution submitted the Formal Charge to the registrar with all relevant documents. The Tribunal fixed 26 May for its decision on whether to take cognizance of the charges.

Administrative Matters
Today the Tribunal warned the lawyer of Mubarak Hossain and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury for misleading the court. On 15 May, Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena informed the Tribunal that on 19 and 21 May, Salauddin was required to go to Chittagong in order to appear in cases pending there on those days. However the Tribunal stated that it had found out that Salauddin had a case only on 22 May.

 

15 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary

15 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Syed Mohammad Qaisar –Application for Issuance of Arrest Warrant
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: Prosecution Closing Arguments

Today the Prosecution submitted that the Investigation Agencies have found concrete evidence showing that Mr Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a former BNP leader and a subsequent policy maker in HM Ershad’s cabinet, was involved in the commission of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide in the Hobiganj and Brahmonbaria sub-divisions in 1971. They allege that he was a local Peace Committee leader and also formed the “Qaisar Force” to aid the Pakistani army. The Prosecution argued that local people are afraid to testify against him because of his current influence and power. Therefore they requested that he be arrested and kept in custody to allow for proper investigation of the allegations against him. The Tribunal granted the request and issued an arrest warrant instructing the Police to arrest Qaisar as soon as possible. They additionally instructed the Investigation Agencies to submit a progress report of the investigation within the next month.

In case against Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid the Prosecution resumed their Closing Arguments, discussing evidentiary aspects of the charges. This discussion was more concise than those arguments previously presented in other cases. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz presented oral arguments concerning the legal standard of Joint Criminal Enterprise.

Administrative Notes:
Ambassador Stephen Rapp, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, visited the Tribunal today along with the Additional Attorney General MK Rahman. The Judges welcomed Ambassador Rapp and he in turn formally greeted the court. The Ambassador met briefly with the Prosecution and Defense teams and with the Registrar. In a later statement made at the American Center at the conclusion of his trip he stated that while there had been improvements since his prior visit in 2011 he still has concerns about the process at the ICT. He emphasized that it is essential that the proceedings be conducted with full due process following the law so that the verdicts cannot be questioned in the future. He also cautioned against the possibility of the judiciary being pressured into finding a certain verdict due to polls, demonstrations or threats of violence. He expressed deep respect for Bangladesh’s initiative in seeking accountability for atrocities committed in its past.  a mixed feeling and expressed his expectation that the tribunals with operate fairly, maintaining its highest standard. He made no comment on the standard of judgments already delivered, stating that it is not appropriate to comment on those judgments given the fact that appeals pertaining to these are now pending in the Appellate Division.