Due to funding uncertainties late in the year, our project was forced to take a hiatus in the month of October. During this time, our trial observers were not physically present in the courtroom to observe proceedings. Trial observation resumed in November, after additional funding was secured to continue the project. In the interest of continuity, we have compiled two brief posts—one for ICT-1 and the other for ICT-2— highlighting major developments in each of the cases that took place during our October hiatus. As we have done with Hartal coverage of the proceedings, the following information was compiled from official court records and communication with the parties to the proceedings.
This month, the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Jahir Uddin Jalal
- Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
Tribunal 2 made more limited progress in October than in other months due to a combination of holidays and hartals. The Court was adjourned a number of days in observance of government holidays for Durga Puja (an important Hindu festival) and Eid-ul-Azha (an important Muslim festival), followed by several country-wide hartals, called by the major opposition parties of Bangladesh. The Court convened on 9 October 2013 to deliver Judgment in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim, and again on 10 October 2013 to hear arguments in the contempt proceedings against a Prosecution witness, Mr. Jahir Uddin Jalal. These major days of proceedings are covered separately in dedicated daily posts for each day. Aside from the Judgment and the contempt proceedings, the following highlights the Court’s schedule in October.
13 October 2013
ICT-2 was in recess.
14 October 2013
This was the last day of the five day long festival of Durga Puja, the most important of all Hindu festivals. It was an observed government holiday.
15 October-17 October 2013
These were observed government holidays for Eid-ul-Azha, one of the two most important Muslim festivals.
20th October-24th October, 2013
PW-1 and PW-2 gave testimony before the tribunal in support of the prosecution’s case against Yusuf. On 21st October, the jail authorities submitted a report reflecting the latest health condition of the accused AKM Yusuf. This was done in compliance with an order of the tribunal dated 10 October 2013, pertaining to the bail application of the Accused. The jail authorities reported that the Accused had undergone all necessary treatment and that his physical condition was stable. Upon perusal of the report, Tribunal 2 rejected the pending bail application on 23rd October.
27 October-31 October, 2013
The proceedings of Tribunal 2 were severely hampered by a country-wide, 60 hour, non-stop Hartal enforced by the opposition parties. Defense counsel remained absent from proceedings, citing security concerns during the hartal.