13 June 2013 ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Cross Examination PW 41, Abdus Sobhan Pre-Trial

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Investigation of Abdus Sobhan

In the Chowdhury case, the Defense concluded the cross-examination of Investigation Officer Md Nurul Islam, Prosecution witness 41. The Tribunal also heard an application submitted by Prosecution requesting the Tribunal to reject the Defense’s list of 1153 witnesses. The Prosecution argued that the list did not comply with Rule 51A (1) and did not specify the particulars of which witnesses would testify as to which charges, or on which points the Defense intended to examine the witness. The Prosecution also argued that list repeated the name of certain witnesses. The Defense countered that the list is short considering the political career of the Accused. They stated that while some names are similar, they are not repetitions.

The Tribunal verbally granted the Prosecution’s application with modification. They limited the Defense to 5 witnesses. The Defense objected, stating that there are 23 charges against the accused and that 41 prosecution witnesses testified against CHowdhury. They argued that being limited to 5 witnesses would prejudice their case. The Tribunal did not respond to their objection.The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings of the case until Monday, 17 July 2013, even if, Defense prayed for more time.

In the ongoing investigation of Abdus Sobhan, the Prosecution submitted their progress report and sought additional time. Tribunal allowed the prayer and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 14 July 2013. 

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury
Cross-Examination PW 41
Defense drew the Investigation Officer’s attention to contradictions found between the witness statements recorded by him and the testimony of the witnesses before the Tribunal, implying that the witnesses ultimate allegations were additions and did not originate with the witnesses themselves. Today the Defense identified contradictions in the statements of Prosecution witnesses 16 -37.

When the Defense sought to address the testimony of Prosecution witness 18, Debabrata Sarkar, the Tribunal stopped them, reasoning that the Defense did not raise the pertinent questions while the witness was being cross-examined. The cross-examination of that witness was conducted by the Accused himself after he temporarily cancelled the appointment of his lawyers (see summary of 30 January, 2013). The Tribunal similarly stopped the Defense from commenting on contradictions in the testimony of Sheikh Morshed Anwar, PW-20. The Accused objected, stating that he was not aware of this rule and requested that the Tribunal reconsider their position. The Defense counsel submitted that the Tribunal may take into account contradictions of its own volition, regardless of whether the points were raised during cross-examination.

The Tribunal requested that the Defense to identify any crucial contradictions, stating that they would consider them.

The Defense then asked the witness about Exhibits 47, 49, 51, 43, 63, 57, 67, 77, 79, 81, 73, 75, 88, 89, all of which are indexes and maps. The Defense claimed that the indexes did not mention the owner of the relevant houses and pondsthe distance between key sites on the map, the name of the school, or the holding number of specifically referenced houses.

The Defense claimed that the relationship between Fozlul Qader Chowdhury (father of the accused) and the Pakistani Army was very bad. They denied that the Accused was being influenced by his father Fozlul Qader Chowdhury or that he denied the independence of Bangladesh and supported the Pakistani occupation forces. They denied that Chowdhury committed mass killing and Crimes Against Humanity in the Chittagong area. The Defense claimed that this case was based on political antagonism and that the influence of the political opposition and the Hindu, Baddhu, Christian Oikko Parishad and Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee were behind the Investigation Officer’s findings. The witness denied all of the allegations.