24 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mueen Uddin and Khan Charge Framing Order

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan

Today, Tribunal formally read out its Charge Framing Order against the Accused Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who are being tried in absentia for their alleged roles during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971. Both the Accused are outside of Bangladesh and have not appeared before the Tribunal, with Uddin believed to be in London and Ashrafuzzaman in New York. On June 16, 2013, the prosecution read out its formal charges before the Tribunal, and alleged that Mueen Uddin was the “operation-in-charge” of Al-Badr, while Ashrafuzzaman acted as its chief executor. Both of the Accused are thus alleged to have directly participated in the killing of Bengali intellectuals and professionals who were brutally targeted between the 10th and 15th of December, 1971, including journalist Dr. Shahidullah Kaiser. Many individuals were allegedly abducted and tortured by the Accused.

ICT-2 took cognizance of the case after the Prosecution, in the last week of April 2013, pressed charges for crimes under the ICT Act of 1973 against the two Accused. On May 12, 2013, the police submitted an official report to the Tribunal, noting that the two Accused could not be arrested as they resided outside of Bangladesh, Mueen Uddin in the United Kingdom and Ashrafuzzaman in the United States. Having received this report from the police, the Tribunal issued an order to its Registrar’s Office to publish an advertisement in two widely-circulated national dailies requesting the two Accused to appear before the Tribunal within 10 days of its publication, and stating that failure to do so would lead to trial-in-absentia. On May 22, 2013, the Prosecution informed the Tribunal that notices had been published on May 14, 2013 in the Daily Janakantha, and on May 15, 2013 in the Daily Star, asking the Accused to submit to the Tribunal with 10 days of publication. The advertisements did not lead the Accused to appear. Finally, on May 27, 2013, ICT-2 noted that the two Accused have absconded, and accordingly ordered their trial to commence in absentia. Abdus Shukur Khan and Salma Hye Tuni, two advocates of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, were appointed by the Tribunal to serve as counsels to defend both of the Accused.

After hearing the proposed charges were read out by the Prosecution on June 16, 2013, the Tribunal fixed today as the date for to read out the Charge Framing Order. Justice Obaidul Hassan, the Chairman of Tribunal 2, read out the Charge Framing Order in the presence of his fellow Justices Mozibur Rahman Mia and Shahinur Islam.

The full Charge Framing Order is available here: Charge Framing Order for Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan