29 August 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Qasem Ali Pre-Trial, Azharul Islam Pre-Trial, Nizami PW 18

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial Proceedings against Mir Qasem Ali
  2. Pre-trial Proceedings against Azharul Islam
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

In the case of Mir Qasem Ali the Tribunal was scheduled to issue its order on the Charge Framing of the case. However, the Defense previously requested additional time so that senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzak could attend. The Defense previously submitted a petition requesting that the order be scheduled for after 8 September so that senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq could be present to argue for the discharge of the case. The Prosecution opposed the application saying that law does not permit such a long adjournment. The Tribunal then passed an order scheduling its Charge Framing Order for 5 September 2013. In the meantime they stated that if Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq wished to appear before the Tribunal it would allow him to submit arguments in favor of discharging the case.

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam the Prosecution began their arguments on the framing of charges. The Prosecution read out the historical background of the case, claiming that in 1971 ATM Azharul Islam was a student of HSC at Karmicle College, the Rangpur unit President of Islami Chhatra Shangho, and the Al-Badr Commander of Rangpur district unit. The Prosecution has proposed 6 charges against ATM Azharul. After hearing these opening arguments the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 3 September as the Defense submitted an application for adjournment at the beginning of today’s session.

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami the Tribunal recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 18, Zahurul Haque. They then adjourned the proceedings of the case until 1 September 2013. 

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Prosecution witness 18, Zahurul Haque, testified in support of Charge 2. Under Charge 2 the Prosecution alleges that Motiur Rahman Nizami conspired to commit murder, rape and deportation of victims as crimes against humanity specified in section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act. He is charged under section 3(2)(g) read with both section 4(1) and 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973, providing for both joint criminal enterprise liability and command responsibility.

Examination-in Chief
The witness testified that he was a freedom fighter. On 13 May 1971 he and his friends Motahar Hossen, Rohiz Uddin, Altab Hossen, Abdul Khalek and others began to prepare for the war, gathering  at Abdur Jabbar’s home in Bausgari, Sathia. He stated that while there he learned from Aynul Huq, headmaster of Ruposhi Primary School, that on 10 May 1971 Motiur Rahman Nizami, the then Secretary of Islami Chhatra Shangho, and 10 or 12 collaborators came to Ruposhi Primary School to talk to Aynul Huq and others. During these discussions Nizami told them that the Pakistani Occupation Force was coming soon to form a local Peace Committee. Zahurul further testified that Nizami told Aynul Huq that they hda to form a local Razakar and Al-Badr force as well. The witness said that Nizami further requested that they help the Pakistani Army.

The witness further testified that on 14 May 1971, after the Fazr prayer, he woke to the sound of shooting. Hearing the shots he walked to the road and hid himself behind a bush. From there he claimed that he saw Nizami, Asad, Qader, Sattar, some other collaborators and Pakistani Army members indiscriminately shooting and moving towards the south side of the road. Zahurul testified that he and his friends fled towards the canal which on the east side of the village. After 6 or 7 hours he and the others returned to Baushgari where they saw approximately 400 corpses of Hindus and Muslims. Zahurul testified that the people who were present at the spot and survived told him that Nizami had been there and instructed the Pakistani Occupation Force to gather the victims together and to shoot them. Among the corpses Zaharul identified Abdur Jobbar, Azgor Ali, Muksed Ali, Idris Ali, Aken Ali, Molom Pramanik, Kolom Pramanik, Waez Uddin, Sree Bolram Das, Upendra Nath, Jethendro Nath and 50 or 60 others.

The witness further testified that on the 11 or 12 May, Nizami and Ishaq inaugurated the Razakar camp of Sathia Pailot High School along with 100 or 150 Razakars and Al-Badrs members. Zahurul said that in Nizami’s inauguration speech he told the audience to kill the freedom fighters and the people who supported them. He also asked the local youth to join the Razakar and Al-Badr forces. Zahurul said that he heard about this meeting and speech from Tofazzal and many others.

 Zahurul testified that the Pakistani Army, Razakars and Al-Badr forces killed the unarmed people of Bera and Sathia at the instruction of Nizami. He further said that he heard that freedom fighters and the supporters of freedom fighter were also the victims of arson attacks, lootings and rape. Zahurul testified that he heard all of this from detained Razakars and Al-Badr members. The witness acknowledged giving an interview to the Investigation Officer on 17 May 2013 and identified Nizami in the dock.

Cross-Examination
The Defense briefly began its cross-examination of the witness. In response to a question Zahurul testified that there is no school in the name of Rajnarayonpur govt Girls School but claimed there was a school called Rajnarayonpur Oboitonik Primary School in 1971 at Rajnarayonpur.