30 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings, Alim PW 28 and 29

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceeedings vs. Jahir Uddin Jalal
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

The counsel of contemnor Mr Jahir Uddin Jalal, who allegedly attacked defense counsel Mr Munshi Ahsam Kabir was not present in the court when the case was called for. The accused-contemnor and Prosecution witness himself stood before the Tribunal and requested a short pass-over of the matter until the arrival of his counsel. The Tribunal then went on to hear the case against Mr Abdul Alim. The Prosecution examined Prosecution witnesses 28 and 29, both of whom work at the Bangladesh Muktijuddho Jadughor (Bangladesh War of Liberation Museum) and who provided testimony as formal witnesses exhibiting seizure list documents.

After the conclusion of the witness testimony, Mr Monsur Rashid appeared before the tribunal on behalf of Jahir Uddin Jalal. He argued that the allegations brought against his client pertaining to the assault of a Defense attorney are ficticious. He argued that the Jalal was not in the vicinity/area where the alleged incident purportedly took place. Therefore he concluded that either this is a case of mistaken identification or it is merely a strategic tactic being used by the defense to harass the Prosecution witness or divert attention away from the regular cases pending. The counsel apologized before the Tribunal for his delay in the morning and stated that there was some delay at the security clearance in the tribunal’s entry gate. The judges were very critical about the counsel’s delay as this was the second time that he appeared late.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Prosecution Witness 28: Amena Khatun
The witness is the Chief Documentaiton Officer at the Bangladesh Muktijuddho Jadughor (The Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh). She testified that the Investigation Officer in the case, Mr Altafur Rahman, came to the museum around 11:30 am on 12 September 2011 and collected “Ekatturer ghatok dalal o juddhaporadhi der shomporkey jatiyo gono-todonto commission er report” (Public Investigation Commission report on the collaborators and war criminals of 71) from the library. The report is a document signed by poet Begum Sufia Kamal and was collected from the witness in the presence of her colleague, Mr Mominul Haque, who works as the Librarian and Research Officer at the museum.

An attested photocopy of the report has been admitted into evidence as Exhibit-14, with Exhibit-12 and 13 being the relevant seizure list and custody papers. The attested copy of the report is contained in pages 3728 to 3750  of Original Document (Volume-13).

The Defense suggested that pages 3728-3750 of Original Document-13 were not photocopied from the original but were instead scanned. The witness denied the suggestion. The Defense asked the witness to read out the names of the signatories of the said report, at page 3728. The witness stated that it was not clear, but nevertheless read the names of Sufia Kamal, Showkat Osman, K M Sobhan, Salaudddin Yousuf, Anupam Sen, Debesh Chandra Bhattacharja, Khan Sawrar Murshid, Shafiq Ahmed, Abdul Khaleq and Shodoromuddin Promukh.

The defense finally concluded by suggesting that the report was created with mala fide intent and was composed using the computer, therefore it is not authentic. The witness stated that she does not know about the details.

This testimony was a mere formal procedural matter; the witness verified that she provided the documents to the Investigation Officer in her official capacity.

Prosecution Witness 29: AKM Mominul Islam
The witness is the Librarian/Research Officer of Bangladesh Muktijuddho Jadughor (Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh). Hestated that the Investigation Officer of the case Mr Altafur Rahman visited his Library Room at around 11:30 am on 12.09.2011 and collected from the library a copy of “Ekatturer ghatok dalal o juddhaporadhi der shomporkey jatiyo gono-todonto commission er report” (Public Investigation Commission report on the collaborators and war criminals of 71). The witness stated that the original document was photocopied in which he signed (Exhibit 12/2) and that he has brought with him the original.

The Defense asked the witness to look at page 3728-3750 of original documents exhibited as Exhibit-14 and suggested that the font size of the page as it appears in the photocopy is different from the original. The witness, contrary to what was said earlier by PW-28, responded that the document was scanned and hence the font size may vary.

The Defense counsel then noted that on the original copy the document shows a serial number 00256 on the top of the beginning page, something which is entirely missing in the scanned copy submitted before the tribunal. The witness in response said that there are multiple copies of the said report in their library and accordingly 00256 is the serial of this particular copy brought by him to the court. The witness stated that he does not know who scanned the document. He agreed with the Defense that scanned copies can be altered, amended or edited, if required.

This testimony was also a formal procedural matter. The cross-examination was aimed at contradicting prior testimony from Prosecution witness 28 just before Mr. Islam’s testimony.