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.