Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
In the Alim case, the Prosecution called the Cataloguer of the Bangladesh Press Institute as its first seizure list witness to formally exhibit various documents. However, the judges noted that the name of the person appearing as PW 27 is not on the list of Prosecution witnesses. Accordingly, the judges opined that it would go against procedural practice of the Tribunal to allow the witness to give testimony despite not being included in the list of witnesses. The Tribunal adjourned for an hour, asking the prosecutor, Rana Das Gupta, to immediately submit an application praying for the addition of a witness.
The Tribunal then resumed after an hour of recess. Prosecutor Gupta submitted that this was an unintentional and mistaken omission on the part of the Prosecution, and requested that the Tribunal afford him an opportunity to rectify this mistake allowing the application. He stated that some of the names of seizure list witnesses were on a separate list already on record, with the exception of three witnesses. The application was allowed by the Tribunal. Accordingly, the examination of PW 27 took place. PW 27, in the course of his testimony, exhibited various Prosecution documents for the Tribunal’s consideration. Defense counsel Hena then conducted a brief cross-examination.
Examination-in-chief of PW 27
The witness, during his examination-in-chief, was asked by the Prosecution about the documentary evidence given by him to the Investigation Officer.
The witness testified that on April 12, 2011 at around 3:30 pm, Altafur Rahman, the Investigation Officer in the Alim case, visited the Bangladesh Press Institute and collected copies of the national daily newspaper the Daily Janakantha’s issues from December 14, 2000 through December 26, 2000 from the library. These issues contained 10 reports of the “Shei Rajakar” (“That Rajakar”) series. The copies were collected from the witness in the presence of his Assistant Book Stocker, S. M. Amirul Islam. The same issues are contained in Volume 8 of Original Documents, page 2003. The witness exhibited the relevant seizure list, his signature and the respective custody paper. He stated that the IO collected attested photocopies of the original, and left the originals with the witness in his custody. The Defense objected to this statement and to the authenticity of the document.
The IO also collected an attested photocopy of the Daily Janakantha’s December 18, 2000 issue, which is contained in Volume 9 of the Original Documents, pages 2332-2351. The witness informed the Tribunal that he brought the original with him to the Tribunal.
The witness testified that the IO again visited the witness’s office in the Bangladesh Press Institute on at 3 pm on May 30, 2011, to collect issues of the Daily Bhorer Kagoj, which are contained in Volume 8 of the Original Documents, at page 2023.
The witness testified that the IO visited him again on October 20, 2011 at around 10:30 am. On this day, the witness gave the IO multiple issues of the Daily Shongbad and the Daily Janakantha, including the issues from December 16, 2000, among three others.
Cross-examination of PW 27
The Defense counsel drew the witness’s attention to Column 2 on page 2003 of Volume 8, to show that the name of the person from whom the documents were collected was not been noted there. The witness replied that the documents were collected from the Information Collection Division of the Bangladesh Press Institute, as an entity, rather than from an individual whose name should have been. The witness stated that no institute of this name existed before 1976.
The defense counsel suggested that the “mastheads” were composed by computer. The witness denied this suggestion and reiterated that these copies were scanned from the originals. The witness finally stated that he has no personal knowledge about the contents of the documents exhibited.
This testimony was a mere formal procedural matter. The witness testified that he, in his official capacity, had provided the aforementioned documents to the Investigation Officer.