Category Archives: Trial of ATM Azharul Islam

12 November 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Hartal Coverage of Mobarak Hossain, Motiur Rahman Nizami, and ATM Azharul Islam

 Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases: 

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of Mobarak Hossain, today was set for further cross-examination of the Investigation officer. The junior Defense Counsel submitted that senior Defense Counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena is in Chittagong and could not reach Dhaka due to ongoing nationwide Hartals. The Tribunal consented to adjourn the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 13 November 2013.

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the junior Defense Counsel submitted that his seniors could not come to the Tribunal due to “personal difficulties.”  The Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 13 November 2013. The Tribunal further directed the Defense to submit their closing arguments in writing.

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, the Tribunal indicted ATM Azharul Islam and framed six charges against him. Thereafter, the Tribunal set 5 December for submitting opening statements, and asked the Defense to submit a list of witness, if any, and other relevant documents by that time.

October 2013: ICT-1 Monthly Overview of Progress of Cases

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:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  4. Contempt Proceedings

Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

In the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, Tribunal 1 issued a verdict on 1 October 2013. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury was found guilty and sentenced to death for charges 3, 5, 6 and 8. He received 70 years imprisonment for  charges 2, 4, 7, 17 and 18. He was acquitted of 8 charges, and the Prosecution did not submit any evidence on the remaining 6 charges. During the pronouncement of verdict, the Accused Salauddin Qader Chowdhury alleged that the verdict had already leaked and was available on the website. Continue reading

24 September 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam, Pre-Trial Submissions

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam

In the case of ATM Azharul Islam, the Defense made pre-trial submissions seeking dismissal of all charges against the Accused, ATM Azharul Islam, under Rule 37 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure. Having heard partial arguments, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until 3 October 2013, when they will hear the remaining portion of Defense arguments.

Defense Submissions

The Accused in this case faces six charges of Crimes Against Humanity.  The proposed charges include allegations of abduction, confinement, torture, persecution, rape and other inhuman act as underlying elements of Crimes Against Humanity. Defense argued that there is no reference to arson or looting or grievous hurt in section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act 1973, nor is there any evidence to show that these offences were crimes under customary international law in 1971.  As such, Counsel submitted, there is no scope for framing charges against the Accused petitioner for these particular crimes. In support of their submission, the Defense called the Court’s attention to Article 22(2) of the Rome Statute for the ICC. Continue reading

18 September 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Hartal Coverage of ATM Azharul Islam, Pre-Trial; Motiur Rahman Nizami, PW-23

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. ATM Azharul Islam
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

Today was the first day of a 48-hour countrywide shut down called by Jamaat-e-Islam. Due to the Hartal, our monitors could not safely travel to the Court to attend proceedings.  The following coverage was compiled from official court records and communication with the parties to the proceedings.The case of ATM Azharul Islam was scheduled for charge hearing today. However, the junior Defense Counsel sought adjournment, saying Senior Defense Counsel could not attend the Tribunal due to personal difficulties. The Prosecution opposed the motion, but the Tribunal agreed to adjourn the proceedings of the case until 23 September 2013. The Prosecution had already completed their submission on charge framing.

In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the Court had scheduled cross-examination of Sayeda Salma Haque, Prosecution witness 23. The Prosecution could not produce the witness, however, and therefore sought additional time, which was granted.  Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until 22 September.

Continue reading

25 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam Cognizance of Charges, Mir Qasem Ali Defense Applications

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial Proceedings against ATM Azharul Islam
  2. Pre-trial Proceedings against Mir Qasem Ali

Today in pre-trial proceedings against suspect ATM Azharul Islam the Prosecution submitted the Formal Charge before the Tribunal. The Tribunal passed an order taking cognizance of the Formal Charge and numbered the case as ICT BD Case No 5 of 2013. The Tribunal also directed the Prosecution to supply the Defense with all of the documents on which the Prosecution intends to rely, as well as the full list of proposed witnesses by the end of the day. They scheduled 18 August for hearing arguments regarding framing of the charges.

The Tribunal also heard an application filed by Alim’s Defense counsel requesting medically appropriate transportation of the suspect to and from the Tribunal. The Defense submitted that the ATM Azharul Islam suffers from back pain but is transported by prison van. The Prosecution objected saying that if such accommodation was made available to all it would create difficulties for the jail authorities due to the shortage of health friendly vehicles. The Tribunal passed an order directing the jail authority to provide ATM Azharul Islam health friendly vehicle if such vehicle is available to the prison authority.

In the pre-trial proceedings against suspect Mir Qasem Ali the Tribunal heard a Defense application seeking adjournment. The Defense submitted that they need privileged communication with their client Mir Qasem Ali. The Defense also requested legible copies of some Prosecution documents. The Tribunal rejected the request for adjournment but scheduled 28 July and 1 August from 10 am to 1 pm for privileged communication between the Defense and their client. They also directed the Prosecution to supply legible copies of the concerned documents if possible. They then heard the Prosecution’s submissions regarding the proposed charges against Ali.

The Prosecution submitted that until 6 November 1971, Mir Qasem Ali was the secretary of the Islami Chhatra Shangho Chittagong division. Between 6 November and 16 December 1971 they claimed that the Accused was also the general secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Islami Chhatra Shangho. They alleged that Mir Qasem was ‘Al-Badr high command.’ Most of the crimes allegedly committed under the leadership of Qasem Ali of took place at Dalim Hotel. The Prosecution briefly read out the 14 charges proposed against Mir Qasem Ali and stated that they had submitted the investigation report, a book titled ‘Muktijudder Potovumi’ vol- 1 and 2, witness statements, map of the place of occurrence, photos, and CDs in support of the charges. The charges are proposed under sections 3(2)(a), 3(2)(g), and 3(2)(h), indicating allegations of crimes against humanity; attempt, abetment or conspiracy; and complicity. The proposed charges are also framed indicating sections 4(1) and 4(2) as the relevant modes of liability, encompassing joint criminal liability and command responsibility respectively. Among the 14 charges proposed, charges 11 and 12 are for murder while the rest are for confinement, abduction, torture and other inhumane acts.