Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Moboarak Hossain
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the Mobarak Hossain case the Tribunal was scheduled to hear the cross-examination of Prosecution Witness 6, Abdul Malek, who testified in support of charge 5. However, Hossain’s Defense counsel was absent when the item was called before the bench. After waiting half an hour the Tribunal stated that the Defense’s absence was unsatifisfactory. They passed an order scheduling the 28 July for the examination-in-chief of Prosecution Witness 7, instead of fixing a date for the cross-examination of Prosecution Witness 6, Abdul Malek.
In the Motiur Rahman Nizami case, the Defense completed the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 14, Abdus Salim Latif, who testified in support of charges 7 and 9. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the case until 24 July 2013.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Prosecution Witness 14
Abdus Salim Latif, Prosecution witness 14 testified in support of charges 7 and 9. Charge 7 alleges that Nizami was complicit in the torture and murder of Sohrab Ali Pramanik, as crimes against humanity under Section 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the ICT Act 1973, read with both section 4(1) and 4(2) of the Act. Charge 9 alleges that Nizami committed genocide under section 3(2)(c)(i); as well as persecution as a crime against humanity under section 3(2)(a) of the Act, read with section 4(1) and section 4(2).
Cross-Examination of PW 14
The Defense asked the witness about his interview with the Investigation officer (IO), specifically when he gave the interview, whether the investigation officer read out what he was recorded as his statement, and whether the witness objected to anything within the statement. The witness replied that he was interviewed in August 2011, that the io read out his statement and that he did not object to the contents as it was a correct statement.
During the examination-in-chief, the witness testified that he is approximately 59 or 60 years old. The Defense asked the numerous questions implying that this was not the witness’ actual age. They asked the witness about his family members, especially about his younger brother, Aminul Islam Dablu. Dablu is proposed to be Prosecution witness 15. The Defense asked how much younger his Dablu is than the witness. He replied that Aminul Islam Dablu is between 20 and 22 years younger from him. Defense asked the witness whether the witness was a voter in the election of 1970. The witness replied that he was not. The Defense claimed that according to the National ID card/voter list the witness’ date of birth is 1957. The witness replied that he cannot remember. The Defense noted that the witness’ signature appears on his National ID card and that the voter list and the National ID card contain the same information. The witness admitted that.
The Defense then asked the witness numerous questions about Nizami, in particular when he first saw Nizami, whether the witness had any relatives in Monmothpur (Nizami’s village), whether Nizami ever visited the school or college where the witness studied, and whether the witness knew Nizami’s father, brothers, or nephew. The witness replied that he first saw Nizami during the general election campaign of Jamaat-e-Islami candidate Advocate Anwarul Huq in 1970. The Defense then asked numerous questions about the 1970 election, student politics, VP, GS and political organizations. The witness previously testified that he saw Nizami at the ferry dock talking with an Army officer. The Defense asked whether the witness ever saw Nizami face to face or talked with him (Nizami) personally. The witness replied that he did not.
During examination-in-chief the witness had also testified that on 3 December 1971 in the early morning Al-Badr, Razakar and Pakistani Army members jointly raided the Brishalikha village, killing his father along with other residents of the Brishalikha village. The Defense claimed that more than 100 eye-witness of the incident are still living. The witness admitted that. The Defense asked the witness among the living witnesses how many gave interviews to the Investigation Officer. The witness replied that Sahjahan Ali was interviewed by the Investigation Officer.
During the examination in chief, the witness testified that around 15 August 1971 he was caught by Razakars and Al-Badr members and taken to an Army Captain. In his testimony he described Nizami as the Al-Badr Chief of Staff. The Defense asked the witness whether he had any knowledge about different posts within the Army. The witness replied that he did not. The Defense asked whether the Pakistani Army had any nameplate on their uniforms. The witness replied that he did not check whether they had any. The Defense asked the witness whether he could identify the rank and batch of the Pakistani Army officer or any other auxiliary force members that he encountered at that time. The witness replied that he cannot.
The Defense asked the witness whether he had been told the names of the Al-Badr and Razakars members who killed his father. The witness replied no. The Defense then asked the witness whether he asked anyone to find out the names of the culprits. The witness replied that he did not. The Defense asked about the Hindu Para (the alleged place of occurrence). They also claimed that the members of Al-Badr were civilians. The Defense asked the witness who the head of Al-Badr in Bera was. The witness replied that he cannot say. The witness also said that after 42 years he cannot remember the names of any members of Al-Badr, Al-Shams or the Peace Committee in Pabna. The Defense noted that the witness did not file any case after independence regarding the killing of his father. The witness admitted that. The Defense claimed that after the war some Razakars were arrested and among them some were alleged to have been responsible for killing the witness’ father (Sohrab Ali Pramanik). The witness replied that he also heard this.
During examination-in-chief, the witness testified that in 1970 he was the student of Intermediate 1st year in Bera College. During cross-examination he also admitted that while a student of the college, he was involved with the politics of the Chhatra League, the student wing of Awami League. The Defense asked the witness about student politics at Sathiya, Atghatia and Sujanagar colleges. The witness replied that in 1971 there was no college in Sathiya and he could not say whether there was any college in Sujanagar or Atghatia. The Defense noted that there is only one person in the Defendant’s dock, implying that the witness was only able to identify Nizami because he was sitting there. The Defense claimed that the witness had come from Pabna in order to testify against Nizami and that his testimony had been prepared. The witness admitted that.
The Defense claimed that during his initial interview with the Investigation Officer the witness did provide the same version of events that he related during his testimony. They claimed that the witness is lying and never saw Nizami or heard about his involvement in the killing of his father. The witness denied these allegations and said that his statement to the Investigation Officer was accurate and contained all the details contained in his courtroom testimony. The Defense claimed that since the witness is involved with the politics of Awami League, and that on order of his leaders, he has provided false testimony agains Nizami. The witness denied that as well.