17 June 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary
Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury –Defendant testimony as DW 1
Today, 17 June 2013, The Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury requested review of the Tribunal’s order from 13 June, which limited the number of allowed Defense witnesses to 5. The Defense also requested time for privileged communication with the Defendant. As the Chairman was on leave, the Tribunal decided it would hear the application for review upon his return. The Tribunal granted the application for privileged communication and passed an order that two Defense Counsels be allowed to meet with Chowdhury on 18 June 2013 from 10 am to 11am at the cell in the Tribunal.
Thereafter, Chowdhury himself took the stand as a Defense witness 1. He testified that he was born in Chittagong in 1949. He provided extensive detail about his family background, including his own family, his siblings, cousins, uncles, father and his father’s education. The witness then described the Charge Framing Order as a formal proposition. The witness testified that the first paragraph of the order states that the two nation theory, and the proposal of an independent Bangladesh, is the primary cause of all communal strife in Bangladesh. The witness testified that this is an ill-disguised proposal for the dissolution of the communally demarcated territory of Bangladesh as enshrined in Article 2 of the constitution of Bangladesh. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 18 June 2013.
Courtroom Dynamics and Administrative Notes
The accused placed his testimony without oath because the Prosecution objected to the oath. The Defendant made his statement in English. This presented logistical problems as the court reporter is not fluent in English and only records witness testimony in Bangla. Therefore it was difficult for the court reporter to keep up with the witness’ pace, and the proceedings were considerably slowed. Additionally ongoing arguments between the Defense and Prosecution over Chowdhury’s statement, use of various phrases, and the spelling of certain English words took up a great deal of time. The Prosecution objected that the witness’ testimony was not relevant to the charges. The Tribunal instructed the witness to be concise in his testimony.