Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim – Prosecution witness 18
Today due to a major ongoing protest called by Hefazat-e-Islami our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. While not officially considered a hartal, the protest resulted in severe unrest throughout the city and security conditions were extremely precarious. The government deployed an entire platoon of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to the International Crimes Tribunal so as to ensure high security at the courts’ premises. The Tribunal was empty mostly empty today as both counsel and researchers were unable to attend the court. Our coverage of the days proceedings are gathered primarily from media sources.
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, the judges of Tribunal-2 expressed their dissatisfaction with the failure of Dhaka Metropolitan Police to comply with the court order instructing them to provide the Alim with adequate security on his way to and from the court. The issue of lack of security of the Accused was brought to the Tribunal’s attention after the Daily Star published an article regarding the matter yesterday.
The court then addressed the only case listed for the day, Chief Prosecutor v Abdul Alim. Prosecution witness 18, Mostafizur Rahman, testified before the Tribunal. He described how his father and others were detained and later killed by the Pakistani Army. He also claimed that the Accused was the Chief of the local Peace Committee and Razakar forces in Jaipurhat. After the witness’ examination-in-chief the Tribunal adjourned the case until 07.05.2013 when the defense will cross-examine PW-18.
Prosecution Witness 18
Mostafizur Rahman, the son of alleged victim Ilias Uddin Sarder, testified as Prosecution witness 18. He stated that on 26 May 1971 at around 11 am., the Pakistani Army accompanied by Peace Committee and Razakar members came to his uncle’s house. The witness said that he went hid himself in a nearby bush along with his cousin Mahbubur Rahman (PW-16), Bazlar Rahman and other villagers. Soon after, two Biharis named Ahmed Koshai and Rashid announced that the Army had come to form the Peace Committee and therefore everyone present should return to their respective homes. The witness said that they went back to his house but his father Ilias Uddin Sardar, uncles Yusuf Uddin Sardar and Yunus Uddin Sardar, and some other elderly people were then taken away by the Pakistani Army. The witness said that his cousins Mahbubur and Bazlar secretly followed and foun out that Ilias, Yusuf, Yunus and others were detained at the Balighata Union Parishad office, which was then being used as a camp by the Army and Razakar forces.
The witness said that three Peace Committee members advised the witness’ cousin, Abul Kashem Sardar, to go to Abdul Alim for help in getting their relatives released. Abul Kashem Sardar went to Alim and requested their release. The witness testified that Alim told his cousin that they would not be released because they supported the independence movement. The witness’ cousin informed him of this when he returned home that day. At around 6:30pm the same day the witness testified that he heard gunshots from a nearby location that was used by the Pakistani Army as a killing site. The witness and others presumed that it was their family members who were being killed. He stated that they then fled the country. He stated that they returned to Bangladesh following independence and that he gathered information of the precise spot where the killing had taken place. He said that he unearthed his family members’ bodies from the mass grave in order to rebury them with proper funeral rituals.