Monthly Archives: July 2013

16 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin – PW 1 and 2

A nationwide hartal was called in response to the conviction and sentencing of Professor Gholam Azam. Our coverage of the day’s proceedings is collected from media sources and from conversations with both the Defense and Prosecution teams.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, in absentia

In the joint case against Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, both of whom are being tried in absentia, the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of two prosecution witnesses. Ms Masuda Banu Ratna testified as Prosecution witness 1, followed by Asif Munir, as Prosecution witness 2. Ms. Masuda Banu Ratna (PW 1) was cross-examined by the two state appointed defense attorneys, Mr Shukur who is representing Ashrafuzzaman and Ms Tuny who is representing Mueen Uddin prior to PW-2’s examination-in-chief.

Prosecution witness 1
Prosecution witness 1: Ms. Masuda Banu Ratnatestified that both Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman took part in anti-independence programs on Dhaka University campus and that she knew them at that time. She stated that she saw the two in a meeting held at the Arts Faculty Building in Dhaka University campus on 15 August 1971, marking the independence day of Pakistan. She stated that Ashrafuzzaman and Mueen Uddin were involved in the abduction of her uncle Professor Giasuddin Ahmed. The witness stated that she gathered information about various anti-independence groups and their activities by roaming around various areas, including Dhaka University campus. The Defense counsel claimed that their respective clients were not involved in the abduction of Prof. Giasuddin on 14 December 1971, as alleged in the charge framing order.

Prosecution witness 2
Following the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 1, the Tribunal recorded the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 2, Asif Munir. The witness is the son of an intellectual Professor, Munir Chowdhury, who was killed in the December 1971 round-up of Bangladesh’s intellectual community. Munir Chowdhury was a professor in the Bangla Department of Dhaka University. The witness testified that his father was abducted by Al-Badr men from their house in Central Road, Dhaka on 14 December 1971, just two days prior to Bangladesh’s victory against the Pakistani army. He stated his father was targeted because he was vocally opposed to the then Pakistani government for its anti-Bengali stance. His cross-examination is to be held tomorrow, 18 July 2013.

16 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury DW 3

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases: 

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
In the Chowdhury case, the Tribunal heard the examination-in-Chief of Qayyum Reza Chowdhury, Defense Witness 3. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 17 July 2013. 

Qayyum Reza Chowdhury testified that he is a businessman and that Salauddin Qader Chowdhury is his cousin. He stated that he took admission in Saheen School in 1964 and met Sheikh Kamal (son of Bangabondhu) and Nizam Ahmed (DW-2) while there. Qayyum testified that Bangabondhu used to drop Sheikh Kamal and Nizam Ahmed with his car, number 3131, at the school. The witness said that he took admission at Notre Dame College after passing his SSC in 1966 from Saheen School. He further testified that Salman F Rahman, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury and Nizam Ahmed also took admission at Notre Dame College and that they became closer while studying there. Qayyum testified that while Salauddin was a student of Notre Dame, he (Salauddin) resided in Eskaton. Qayyum testified that subsequently they all took admission at Dhaka University and participated in the movement to free Bangabondhu who was accused of involvement in the Agortola Conspiracy Case. Qayyum testified that when Salauddin Qader Chowdhury took admission at Dhaka University, he (Salauddin) began living in Dhanmondi. The witness testified that when Asad was shot he, Salman F Rahman and Salauddin Qader Chowdhury were present very nearby behind a tree. Nizam was t,wo feet away from Asad and Khairul Bashar was near a riot van. Qayyum testified that when Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was a student of Dhaka University and resided at Dhanmondi political leaders frequently went to his house. Qayyum testified that he (Qayyum) was good in English and for that reason was assigned by Bangabondhu to work with his press secretary, Badsha in handling foreign journalists, translation and typing related works. Qayyum testified that Salaudin Qader Chowdhury was present at Race-course field with him during the historic speech of Bangabondhu on 7 March, 1971. Continue reading

15 July 2013: Gholam Azam Found Guilty – Sentenced to 90 years

Today Tribunal 1 issued its second verdict in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. It is the second verdict issued by Tribunal 1 and the fifth verdict issued by the International Crimes Tribunal. The Tribunal found Gholam Azam guilty of all five charges against him.

The Charges and the Verdict:

  • Charge 1: Six Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 2: Three Counts of Planning to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 3: Twenty-eight counts of Incitement to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 4: Twenty-tree counts of Complicity in Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 5: Murder and Torture as Crimes against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act. The Charge alleged that Gholam Azam directed Peyara Miah, a member of the Peace Committee, to kill Siru Mia and his son because they were freedom fighters. Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

The Tribunal noted that it took Gholam Azam’s age (he is 91 years old) and ill health into account when determining his sentencing. They stated that he would serve the terms of imprisonment consecutively, guaranteeing that he will die in jail.

Charges 1-4 alleged that Gholam Azam was liable either under Section 4(1), which provides for a form of constructive liability (where, when a crime is committed by several persons, each will be liable as if he was the sole perpetrator), and Section 4(2), which provides for liability under the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. Charge 5 alleged direct individual responsibility for murder and torture, and does not mention any of the forms of liability enumerated under Section 4 of the Act.

From comments made during the Tribunal’s announcement of its verdict, it appears that for Charges 1-4 Gholam Azam was found guilty on the basis of Command Responsibility. The Prosecution had argued that Gholam Azam, as the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, controlled the organizational framework of Islami Chatra Sangha and played the pivotal role in forming the Shanti (Peace) Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams. Therefore they claimed that he was liable for all of the crimes committed by the members of those groups. They further alleged that Gholam Azam exercised Command Responsibility over the members of the Shanti (Peace) Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams, and that, even though he was a civilian, Gholam Azam had influence over the Pakistani Army. The Defense disagreed that Section 4(2) could be applied to Gholam Azam because he was a civilian and they claimed that the Doctrine of Command Responsibility is applicable only to leaders of military and auxiliary forces.

For a detailed discussion of the Gholam Azam case and the evidence presented by both parties please refer to our Special Report: Special Issue No. 3 – Gholam Azam Case Summary

Additionally, we will be posting the judgment here on our website once we receive the official copy from the court. We will also publish summary of the Tribunal’s legal conclusions once we have reviewed the Judgment in full.

14 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Charge Hearing

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial stage of AKM Yusuf case 

Today Tribunal 2 heard the proposed charges against AKM Yusuf from the Prosecution. They shcheduled 18 July 2013 for the hearing of the Defense’s reply, following which the Charge Framing Order will be passed. After the Prosecution concluded its hearing on the charge framing, the Defense submitted an application requesting privileged communication with the Defendant who is being held in pre-trial detention. .The request was granted. Although the Defense also requested two days additional time for case preparation prior to communication with the Accused, the Tribunal emphasized the need to deal with the cases expeditiously and scheduled the meeting for 17 July 2013, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Two members of the Defense team will meet AKM Yusuf in jail for privileged communication.

14 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Verdict Tomorrow, Abdus Sobhan Investigation Report, Mobarak Hossain PW 6

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Abdus Sobhan
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

In the investigation of Abdus Sobhan the Prosecution submitted a progress report and requested additional time. The Tribunal granted the request and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 19 August 2013.

In the Mobarak Hossain case, the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Abdul Malek, Prosecution Witness 6, who testified in support of charge 5. Thereafter, Defense Counsel sought time saying that Defense were not informed about the witness earlier. The Tribunal granted the request and the adjourned proceedings in the case until 16 July 2013.

Today, 14 July 2013, the Gholam Azam case was included in the cause list as item 4. The Tribunal passed an order stating that the judgment of this case has been prepared and will be issued tomorrow, 15 July 2013. Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak informed the Tribunal that Gholam Azam is ill and requested permission for him to remain at the hospital tomorrow where he has received treatment throughout his detention. The Tribunal refused the request, stating that it is the right of the Accused to hear the judgment against him.