Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
The Prosecution heard testimony from Prosecution witness 19 in the case of Abdul Alim. The witness described being detained and tortured by the Pakistani Army during the war in 1971. However, the witness did not make any incriminating statements about Alim. Because the witness was not making statements regarding alim the Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta requested that the Tribunal declare Prosecution witness 19 to be a hostile witness. The Tribunal granted the request and allowed the Prosecutor to effectively cross-examine the witness. At the end of the questioning the Prosecutor alleged that the witness was either intimidated by the Defense and their supporters or bribed to conceal the truth. The Defense did not cross-examine the witness, but commented that the witness is s stating truth of his own free will.
Prosecution Witness 19
Abed Hossain testified as Prosecution witness 19. He stated that on 18 June 1971, he was picked up by the Pakistani Army from the yard of a local mosque situated in his village or Chakbarkat Sonarpara, Jaipurhat district. He asserted that it was the Pakistani army who carried out the operation and detained many others along with him. He stated that the Pakistani army then tortured him while he was in custody. He thought that as many as 22 people were killed by the army, although he managed to survive.
During the examination in chief, the witness made no mention of Abdul Alim and thus did not support the Prosecution’s claim that the Accused was involved in the witness’ detention and torture. Even after repeated questioning by the Prosecutor the witness failed to identify any factor showing the involvement of the Accused in his abduction and torture. He also did not implicate Alim in the detention, torture or killing of any other person. The witness highlighted that the atrocities were committed mainly by the Pakistani Army.
The Prosecution then received permission to treat the witness as hostile and to cross-examine him. During the cross-examination, the prosecutor Rana Das Gupta alleged that the witness was either politically motivated, financially manipulated or otherwise intimidated into changing his testimony.
The Prosecution asked whether the witness was a supporter of any political party and which political party the witness voted for in the last parliamentary election. The judges quickly interrupted and condemned this line of questioning, saying that such questioning would not be tolerated. The judges affirmed that the witness may vote for anyone of his choice and will never be expected to disclose his choices before the Tribunal. The cross-examination was then concluded by the prosecutor with the suggestion that the witness is concealing the involvement of the accused by reason of intimidation or corruption.
The Defense did not conduct a separate cross-examination of the witness and merely stated that the witness was voluntarily testifying and was stating the truth.