Category Archives: Trial of Gholam Azam

15 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Conclusion of Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

On April 15, 2013 the Defense for Gholam Azam concluded their Closing Arguments. Imran Siddiq presented the Defense’s arguments based on complicity. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq presented arguments on the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. The Defense then summarized the Charges against Gholam Azam before the Tribunal. After the completion of the Defense’s case the Tribunal asked the Prosecution to submit their reply. The Prosecution requested one day for preparation of their response. The Tribunal accepted the request and adjourned the proceedings until 17 April 2013.

After the lunch break the Tribunal turned to the Nizami case. Prosecutor Mir Iqbal informed the Tribunal that Prosecution witness 4 had been present in the morning but was now feeling sick and could not testify. The Tribunal therefore adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 16 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Count 13 Charge No 4
The Defense submitted that the Prosecution failed to prove that Gholam Azam’s press briefing substantially contributed to the commission of Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Prosecution has failed to adduce evidence in the form of witnesses or documents to establish that identified members of the Pakistan Army and/or its auxiliary forces had heard or read Gholam Azam’s statement prior to committing Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Defense referred to the testimony of the Investigation Officer and submitted that during cross-examination the witness admitted that he not say whether any person had committed atrocities upon hearing or reading Gholam Azam’s statements and speeches.

Count 14, Charge 4
The Prosecution has based Count 14 of Charge 4 on Exhibits 48 and 122  which quote Gholam Azam as saying the damage that was caused by the separatists cannot be remedied merely by chanting slogans. He also alleged that there were those who were colluding with India and involved in arson, looting and violence throughout the country because they wanted an independent East Pakistan. Gholam Azam alleged that in order to assist the separatists and the banned Awami League, India was smuggling infiltrators and arms into the country. Gholam Azam also praised the Pakistani Army for their role in preserving the unity of Pakistan.

The Defense argued that no where in these reports is there proof that Gholam Azam expressed support for the criminal activities of the Pakistani army, nor is there any proof that he urged the members of Jamaat or others to engage in repressive and criminal activities. The Defense further submitted that Gholam Azam’s statement that chanting of slogans would not be enough to redress the damage caused by the separatists does not amount to urging members of Jamaat to commit Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity as alleged in the Charge Framing Order. Continue reading

11 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Mubarak Hossain Investigation, Gholam Azam Adjournment

Due to an ongoing nation-wide  hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings today. The following summary is compiled from media sources and conversations with the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Mubarak Hossain
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Today Ahsanul Huq Hena, senior Defence counsel for Mubarak Hossain, submitted the Defense’s request for the discharge of his client from the case. The Defense also requsted bail. Prosecutor Zahed Imam opposed the bail prayer. After hearing both sides the Tribunal scheduled 23 April for the passing of its order.

In the Gholam Azam case the Defense requested an adjournment until Monday, 15 April, because senior Defence counsel Abdur Razzaq was unable to attend due to “personal difficulty.” Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the prayer. The Tribunal passed an order scheduling 15 April for the Defense’s Closing Arguments. The order stated that further requests for time extensions would not be allowed under any circumstances.

7 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary, Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam: Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Defense continued their Closing Arguments, addressing Charge 3 for incitement and Charge 4 for complicity.

After the lunch break Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak requested an additional working day in order to complete the Defense’s summing up. By mentioning “working day,” the Defense implied a non-hartal day. This week hartals have been called for Monday through Thursday.  The Defense does not attend the Tribunal during hartal days.

Charge 3:
Incitement to Commit Genocide
The Defense addressed each count of incitement contained within Charge 3. First, the Defense argued that none of Gholam Azam’s statements were designed to instigate or prompt others to attack or destroy members of any national, religious, ethnic or racial group. Considering the context of censorship surrounding news reports, the testimony of both Prosecution and Defense witnesses and submitted Exhibits, it is clear that none of  Gholam Azam’s statements, when interpreted according to their plain and ordinary meaning, were directed against members of the Hindu community, the Bengali civilian population or supporters of the Awami League. Secondly, the Defense argued that the Charge Framing Order does not adequately specify how Gholam Azam prompted, provoked or instigated criminal action, nor has the Prosecution brought any evidence on record to show that an identified perpetrator was so instigated, prompted or provoked. Thirdly, the Prosecution has made no attempt to establish that Gholam Azam had the required intention to destroy Hindus, members of the Awami League or the Bengali civilian population. Similarly, the Prosecution failed to prove that through his statements Gholam Azam intended to create genocidal intent amongst members his audience. Therefore the Defense stated that the Prosecution did not prove essential elements of the alleged crime.

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4 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam: Defense Closing Arguments

Today Defense counsel Imran Siddiq continued presenting the Defense’s Closing Arguments. He added some additional arguments regarding the impact of censorship on the reliability of documentary evidence and then addressed Charge 3 which is for Incitement to commit crimes under section 3(2) of the ICT act of 1973.

The Defense added some points to the arguments they submitted regarding censorship on 3 April. Imran submitted that a conviction cannot be solely based on newspaper reports where the newspaper reports have not been collaborated. The Defense submitted that it is evident from Exhibit-EK that the Chief Martial Law Administrator imposed restrictions on newspapers through the Martial Law Regulation no 77, prohibiting printing or publishing any news which is calculated to prejudicially affect the integrity or solidarity of Pakistan. The Defense argued that Prosecution Exhibit 3, a news report published in the daily Shangram 19 June 1971, shows that Gholam Azam called for the withdrawal of censorship restrictions. Imran also noted that Defense witness 1 testified that during 1971 the Martial Law Authority imposed censorship on mass media by official notification. The Defense pointed to pages 62 and 84 of the book Muktijuddho: Bibhinno Dristikon Theke, by Sadruddin, stated that due to censorship news received from East Pakistan was very limited and unreliable. The Defense further noted that the book Ami Mujib Bolsi, by Krtittibas Ojha, states that censorship was imposed on newspapers, radio and television were not allowed to publish without prior permission regarding the contents from the relevant authority. Continue reading

3 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Application and Closing Arguments

Today Defense counsel for Gholam Azam filed an application seeking the recall of yesterday’s order, citing the interest of justice. Yesterday, 2 April 2013, the Tribunal passed an order directing the Defense to conclude their Closing Arguments by 4 April 2013. The Defense argued that compelling them to conclude their Closing Arguments would seriously prejudice the Accused because they would be unable to adequately present the case.

The Defense requested an additional four days instead of the two currently allotted. Senior Defense counsel stated that he cannot make himself available on hartal days. He noted that the other courts of the country, from the magistrate level to the Supreme Court, do not convene on hartal days. Razzaq further stated that though he is supporter of a political party, he appears before the Tribunal solely as an advocate and has refrained from making any political statements over the last 3-4 years.

After making his submissions Tribunal 2 granted Razzaq permission to leave in order to appear before Tribunal 2.

Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the prayer and submitted that the application should be rejected summarily.

Defense Closing Arguments
Defense counsel Imran Siddiq continued the submission of Closing Arguments on behalf of Gholam Azam. He argued regarding the legal requirements of the charge of conspiracy, planning and incitement.

Conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity
Imran Siddiq submitted that section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act of 1973 does not describe the elements of the crime which the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. Given the silence of the Statute on this matter, it is therefore necessary to look to Customary International Law in order to assess whether the Prosecution has sufficiently proved its case.

Imran stated that in order to convict the Accused of conspiracy to commit Crimes Against Humanity, the Prosecution must prove that i) there was an attack ii) the attack was widespread or systematic iii) the attack was directed against a civilian population iv) the attack was committed on national, political, ethical, racial or religious grounds and v) Gholam Azam acted with the knowledge of the attack. He cited to the ICTR case of Ntagerura (Trial Chamber), 25 February 2004, para 698.

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