2 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Testimony and Cross-Examination

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain

Today in the Chowdhury case  the Defense concluded the examination in chief of Defense witness 1, the Defendant. The case was then adjourned until 4 July 2013.  The Tribunal had scheduled Prosecution witness 5 to testify in the case against Mobarak Hossain. However, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 3 July 2013. 

Examination-in-Chief of Chowdhury – DW 1
Under Charge 3 it is alleged that on 13 April 1971 at about 9:30 or 10 am, after killing Hindus at Maddhay Gohira, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury led the Pakistani Army to Kundeshwari Owsadalay of Gohira and raided and entered into the household of Sree Nuton Chandra Singh. It is further alleged that they pulled Mr. Singh from his prayer room  and that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury told the Pakistani Army that he had been instructed by his father to kill Sree Nuton Chandra Singh. After hearing this and after this  the Army allegedly opened fire and then Salauddin Qader Chowdhury shot him to confirm his death. Chowdhury, testifying as Defense witness 1, stated that Mr Sattya Ranjon Singh, son of Nuton Chandra Singh, was Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s nominator in the nomination papers for the General Election of Parliament in 1979. At this point the Prosecution objected to the content of the testimony, but Tribunal allowed the sentence to remain on record. Chowdhury further testified that he was 1200 miles away from Bangladesh on 13 April 1971.

Chowdhury stated that he has no doubt in his mind that genocide on a horrendous scale was committed against the people of Bangladesh in 1971. As as a son of the soil and not a refugee from India, Chowdhury proclaimed that his patriotism and allegiance to the communally demarcated territory of Bangladesh is total and unqualified. He expressed his view that “under a motivated myth we have shrouded the identities of the three million martyrs, who sacrificed their lives, in numerical statistics.” The Prosecution again objected stating that the witness cannot testify regarding his views. Chowdhury further testified that it is tragic that in the last 42 years we have failed to give recognition by naming the three million civilian martyrs of 1971. It is a matter of satisfaction that at least some names have emerged, in the formal charges against him, but these have not been claimed or recognized in the last 42 years. Chowdhury testified that most of the claimed deceased are named as the members of the Hindu Community. The witness testified that after the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 and the Promulgation of the Enemy Property Ordinance, there was a significant exodus of Hindus from erstwhile East Pakistan. He further said that after the Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 many member of the Hindu community returned to Bangladesh, a fact confirmed by the 74,000 cases pending today by members of the Hindu community seeking return of properties seized under the Enemy Property Ordinance. Chowdhury stated that no deceased person with the possible exception of Nuton Chandra Singh, has been identified by the voter list of 1970, or land record of 1970 or by any DNA test of either graves or cremation sites. The Prosecution objected, saying that this was an anti-secular view that should not be kept on judicial record.

Chowdhury testified that the charges relating to incidents in Unosottor Para had been addressed in a criminal case in 1972 in which he was not an accused, and that this acknowledged the fact that he was not in Bangladesh in April 1971. Regarding the incidents in Moddhaya Gohira, Bonik Para and Sultanpur, the witness testified that there have not been recorded any criminal cases in any Police Station, again confirming the fact that he was not in Bangladesh in April 1971. Chowdhury stated that the charges related to Goods Hill are strictly limited to allegations of his presence in Goods Hill, justified by the motto “Post hoc ergo proctor hoc”. The witness testified that where it was alleged that he had identified a confectionary store owner and instructed the Pakistani Army to abduct him, the only witness testifying about him is domestic housewife. He stated that her ability to identify him merely relates to his public recognition in the age of cable Television.

Chowdhury reiterated that, as corroborated by the submitted sworn affidavits and documents, he was not in Bangladesh from 29 March 1971 until 20 April 1974 . He described this prosecution as targeting political opponents of defined Muslim conviction. The Prosecution objected to this statement and the Tribunal recorded this paragraph with their objection.

Thereafter, the witness exhibited four books: ‘Razakarder Talika, Brihotoro Chittagong Zilla,’ written by ASM Shamsul Alam, published in July 2009, as Exhibit-A;  ‘Juddho Oporadhir Talika O Bichar Prosongo,’ written by M A Hasan, published in 2009, as Exhibit-B; ‘Amar Juddho, Amar Ekkattor,’ by Siru Bengali, published in February 2012, as Exhibit-C; and ‘Bangal Keno Juddhe Gelo,’ written by Siru Bengali, published in August 1996, as Exhibit-D. The Defense then concluded their examination-in-chief.

The Prosecution then began its cross-examination of the witness. They began by stating  that the name of the witness is Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, alias Saka Chowdhury. The witness objected to the alias. The Prosecution asked the witness whether there exists a family tree recording his family. The witness replied that there is . The Prosecution then asked the witness whether he submitted that as document before the Tribunal. The witness replied that the Tribunal did not ask for such a document, which is why he did not submit it. Thereafter, the Prosecution requested time to prepare their cross-examination. The Tribunal granted the request and adjourned the proceedings of the case till 4 July, 2013.