Category Archives: Trial of Gholam Azam

Special Report: Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam Verdict and Legal Findings

This special report provides a detailed overview of the factual and legal findings of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) Judgment in Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. Gholam Azam was found guilty on all five charges and sentenced to 90 years imprisonment. The Tribunal made a point of noting that he deserved the death penalty, but because of his age and illness, they saw fit to sentence him to life imprisonment instead. Arguments in the case were completed on 17 April 2013 and the verdict was issued on 15 July 2013. It was the second verdict to be issued by Tribunal 1, and the fifth verdict issued by the ICT. Our previous special report on the Gholam Azam case reported in detail on the documentary and testimonial evidence used to support each count within each distinct charge against the Defendant, as well as the general arguments made by both parties. This report focuses on the legal outcomes of the case.

The full report is available here:Special Issue No. 5 – Gholam Azam Case Verdict

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-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.

Special Report Issue #3: Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam Case Summary

This special report provides a detailed overview of the factual and legal arguments presented by the Prosecution and Defense in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. Arguments in the case were completed on 17 April 2013 and the case is currently awaiting verdict from Tribunal 1. We have reported on the documentary and witness evidence used to support each count within each distinct charge, as well as the general arguments made by both parties. Once the Tribunal issues its verdict, we will publish a supplementary report regarding the legal conclusions made in the Judgment.

For the full report please go here: Special Issue No. 3 – Gholam Azam Case Summary

Weekly Digest, Issue 12: April 7-11

This week Tribunal 1 continued to hear the Defence’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case. The Defence concluded their coverage of Charges 3 and 4, and requested one additional day to complete their arguments. The Defence however did not attend proceedings during hartal days. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard the testimony of Prosecution witness 25. Additionally, the Prosecution submitted the Formal Charges against Mubarak Hossain and both Parties submitted their arguments regarding the impending of indictment of Hossain.

In Tribunal 2 the Defence for Ali Ahsan Mohadded Mujahid began their cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer. The case of Kamaruzzaman was repeatedly scheduled for the Defence’s Closing Arguments. However, the Senior Defence counsel did not attend on hartal days and therefore the case was adjourned until the following week. In the case against Abdul Alim the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witnesses 14 and 15.

It should be noted that hartals were called for the 8, 9, 10, and 11th of April. Due to security concerns our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days. Therefore our coverage of those days is compiled from media sources as well as discussion with the Defence and Prosecution.

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 12 – April 7-11

Weekly Digest Issue 11: March 31- April 4

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 11 – March 31- April 4

This week Tribunal 1 dealt with the Motiur Rahman Nizami, Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, and Gholam Azam cases. In the case against Nizami the Defence cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. In the case against Salauddin Qader Chowdhury the Tribunal heard both the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of Prosecution witness 24, Babul Chakraborty. Gholam Azam’s Defence counsel continued their Defence Closing Arguments, addressing the conspiracy allegations under Charge 1, as well as legal arguments on incitement. Proceedings were delayed by hartals and the absence of Defense counsel.

In Tribunal 2, the Court heard the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case, during which they addressed evidentiary issues including hearsay, and legal arguments about the standard of complicity and under the doctrine of Superior Responsibility. Due to the hartal on 2 April, ICT 2 convened only briefly to allow the Prosecution to complete their examination-in-chief of the Investigation Officer in the Mujahid case. On 3rd April the Defence began its presentation of Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case, addressing factual issues in Charges 1-3 and responding to the legal issues raised by the Prosecution during their Closing Arguments.

The full report of this week’s proceedings can be read here: Weekly Digest, Issue 11 – March 31- April 4

28 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami Cross-Examination of PW 5

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami – Cross Examination of PW 5

Today the Defense in the Nizami case concluded their cross-examination of Prosecution witness 5, Nazim Uddin Khattab. The Tribunal then adjourned the case  until 30 April 2013.

Nazim Uddin Khattab testified in support of Charge no 4 which alleges that Motiur Rahman Nizami conspired to commit crimes under section 3(2)(g) of the Act and was complicit in murder, rape, looting and destruction of property in the village of Karajma. The Charges are framed as Crimes Against Humanity under section 3(2)(h), section 3(2)(g) and 3(2)(a) read with section 4(1) and section 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Cross-examination
During the examination-in-chief, Nazim Uddin Khattab had testified that he received training as a freedome fighter for the Liberation War and regarding the UPR camp. Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam asked him who was in charge of the camp. Khattab replied Major Ibrahim and Habildar Ali Akbar were responsible. The Defense suggested that UPR was established at the request of Abu Sayed after the formation of the Razakar and Al-Badr forces, as well as the Peace Committee. Khattab denied the suggestion and testified that before the camp was set up in the area before the formation of the Razakar and Al-Badr forces or the Peace Committee. The Defense asked how long after the UPR camp was established the Peace Committee, Razakar f and Al-Badr forces were formed. Khattab was unable to provide a timeline. The Defense again asked him when he first heard about the Peace Committee . Khattab replied that he first heard about the three groups before 19 April 1971. Previously during the Proesecuiton’s examination-in-chief Khattab had claimed that the Union Board Chairman Khoda Box was Chairman of the Peace Committee and a leader of Muslim League. The Defense suggested that Major Ibrahim arrested Khoda Box. Khattab denied the suggestion.

During the examination-in-chief Khattab had also testified regarding an individual named Rofikun Nabi Bublu, .stating that he had gone into hiding after the Liberation War. In response to the Defense’s questions he said that he did not know whether Rofikun’s father, Shiraj, was a doctor but noted that his title was doctor. Khattab denied the Defense’s suggestion that Shiraj practiced in Bera as a doctor. Continue reading