21 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami PW 8, Chowdhury PW 40, Mubarak Hossain PW 1

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mubarak Hossain

In the Nizami case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness  8, Khalilur Rahman, who testified in support of Charge 6. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until 26 May 2013.

In the Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Kawser Shaikh, Prosecution witness 40, who testified regarding documents collected by the Investigation Officer. Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena then conducted the cross-examination.

In the Mubarak Hossain case the Tribunal heard the cross-examination of Darul Islam, Prosecution witness- 1, who had testified in support of Charges 1, 2 and 3. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 22 May 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
The Defense asked Prosecution witness 8, Khalilur Rahman, about  Dhulaura village, its location, where the witness stayed before entering the village, the location where he allegedly found the corpses of those killed, the location of the banyan tree in which he hid, etc. These questions were aimed at undermining the witness’ version of events and casting doubt on the assertion that he was actually present during the commission of the alleged crimes. The Defense asked the witness whether he saw any Pakistani Army members before 27 November 1971. He answered that he had seen them in Dhaka, but could not remember when between 25 March and 16 December 1971 he visited Dhaka. The Defense asked what the intention was behind going to Dhulaura village. He answered that his group went in order to meet with the freedom fighters of the village. Specifically he named Nizam Uddin Chairman, but he could not identify the location of Nizam Uddin’s freedom fighters’ camp.

During the examination-in-chief, the witness testified that at about 3:30 am he heard the sounds of the army approaching. He opened the window and saw Nizami, other Razakars and members of the Pakistani occupation forces coming towards the house. The Defense claimed that at 3:30 in the morning it would have been too dark to recognize anyone through the window, particularly given there was no electricity in the area. The witness answered that there was moonlight. The Defense asserted that this was impossible given it was after Eid-ul-Fiter and the moon set at 1:23 am. Additionally they noted that the weather at that time was foggy, further undermining the witness’ testimony.

The Defense claimed that his initial interview with the Investigation Officer the witness did not acknowledge that Mazed was alive, and that he did not claim that he saw Nizami with other Razakars and members of the Pakistani Army. The Defense also claimed that the Witness did not originally allege that he saw members of the Pakistani Army enter a house with two young women. Additionally they stated that the witness did not tell the Investigation Officer that he knew Nizami before the Liberation War or that Nizami’s house was just 1 kilometer away from the witness’ house. The witness denied these suggestions and claimed that he had stated all these things during his initial interview.  TheDefense asked the witness about books written by Zohirul Huq Bishu and Rezaul Karim and claimed that the witness read the books and used them for his testimony. The witness denied the suggestion.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury
Kawser Shaikh, the official book-sorter of the divisional government library, testified as Prosecution witness 40. He testified as to the contents of documents being entered into evidence on behalf of the Prosecution.

Kowser Shaikh, Prosecution witness 40, exhibited photocopies of two news reports published in the Daily Pakistan in 1970, nine news reports published in the Daily Ajadi in 1970 and 17 news reports published in the Daily Ajadi in 1971.

The Defense claimed that on 10 March 2011 when the newspaper cuttings were seized from the divisional government library the witness did not hold the post of ‘Assistant Librarian in Charge.’  The Witness admitted that he did not hold that title and added that he was the book sorter. The Defense claimed that all  the headings (heading, date, paper name) of the exhibited newspaper reports (Exhibit 37, 38/1 to 38/25) are computer composed and that the reports were scanned. The witness admitted that the headlines were generated via computer and the reports scanned. The Defense claimed that the editor of the Daily Ajadi newspaper ran against Fazlul Qader Chowdhury (father of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury) in the election of 1970.

Chief Prosecutor vs Mubarak Hossain
The Defense claimed that Rina Begum filed Case No. 26 against Mubarak Hossain in the Akhaura police on 28 May 2007. They stated that the witness also testified against Mubarak Hossain in that case as Prosecution witness 4. The Defense noted that Mubarak was acquitted in that case. The witness denied giving any testimony against Mobarak Hossain. The Defense asked if the witness knew that in Mubarak Ali had been acquitted on appeal. The witness said he did not know anything about the case. The Defense also claimed that the witness, as a non-commission officer following the Pakistan Military Rules, cannot obtain leave more than three months at a time. Witness denied this suggestion.