Category Archives: Trial of Gholam Azam

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

Please note that today was a hartal and due to security concerns our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. The following brief summary is compiled from media sources and conversations with the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Today was scheduled for the conclusion of the Defense’s Closing Arguments on legal points. Abdur Razzaq, Senior Defense Counsel for Gholam Azam was not present before the Tribunal. A junior Defense counsel member filed an application for adjournment on the grounds that the senior Defense members were facing personal difficulties. The junior also noted that the Defense had tried to pay the costs imposed by the Tribunal upon them on 27 March, but were unable due to a problem with the server of the concerned bank’s online network. He stated that they tried to pay another two times and so today sent a clerk to pay the cost directly.

Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the application for adjournment. Prosecutor Turin Afroz submitted that the cost imposed does not reflect the value of the labor and time of judges, lawyers, officials and others which she claimed are being wasted because of the Defense counsel’s absence. After hearing both sides’ arguments, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 3 April 2013. The Tribunal also passed an order directing the Defense counsels to finish the legal arguments by 4 April and noted that failure to do so would effectively terminate the Defense counsel’s Closing Arguments.

Weekly Digest Issue 8: March 10-14

We are slowly catching up with our Weekly Digests. Thank you for your patience!

This week proceedings in Tribunal 1 were dominated by the presentation of the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the case of Gholam Azam. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard testimony from Prosecution witness 21, a former freedom fighter. Additionally, the Prosecution presented the Formal Charge against Mubarak Hossain, and the Tribunal took official cognizance of the charges.

In Tribunal 2 the court heard testimony from three Prosecution witnesses in the Mujahid case, one Prosecution witness in the Abdul Alim case, and three Defense witnesses in the Kamaruzzaman case. Additionally, the Tribunal dealt with ongoing contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders, MK the Daily Shongram, and MK Anwar.

Read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 8 – March 10-14

1 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami –cross-examination of PW 3
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury – examination of PW 24
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam –Defense Closing Arguments

Defense Counsel for  Motiur Rahman Nizami concluded their cross-examination of Prosecution witness- 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. The Tribunal scheduled the next hearing of the case for 15 April 2013.  In the case against Salauddin Qader Chowdhury the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 24, Babul Chakraborty. Thereafter, Defense counsel cross-examined the witness. After the completion of the cross-examination the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings in the Chowdhury case until 4 April 2013.  In the afternoon the Tribunal heard Abdur Razzaq, senior Defense counsel for Gholam Azam, present the Defense’s Closing Arguments based on Charge 1 for conspiracy. The Tribunal then adjourned the Gholam Azam case until tomorrow, 2 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 3
The Defense cross-examined Rustom Ali Mollah, Prosecution witness 3. The witness testified that Tarek Khan Mojlish was 7 to 8 years younger than him. He said that Zohir Uddin Jalal is also younger than him but he could not specify by how many years. Rustom testified that he crossed the Bosila river by himself, on his way to Vayaspur and Rampur. He traveled alone and met Zohir Uddin Jalal, a freedom fighter who went by the name Jalal. The witness said that he did not meet with any other freedom fighters before meeting with Jalal. Additionally, he claimed that he did not meet any other freedom fighters during the war. He testified that he continues to live in the same house that he occupied during the Liberation War.

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31 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

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

The Tribunal began its proceedings at 12:00 pm today. In the case against Motiur Rahman Nizami the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. After the lunch break Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzaq presented the Defense’s Closing Arguments regarding legal issues and Charge 1.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 3
The Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. He testified that his father Rohom Ali retired in 1986. He did not know when his father began his job. Rustom testified that he did not complete primary school. He could not remember whether he went to the New Eskaton circuit house in 1971 or not. Rustom testified that he went to the recourse field on 7 March 1971 to hear the speech of Sheikh Mujib Rahman. He said that he does not know who the leader of Awami League or Chhatra League (student wing of Awami League) in Mohammadpur area was in 1971. He said that during the election of 1970 he was in Dhaka with his father. He testified that he did not know who won the Mohammadpur area elections in 1970. He claimed that in 1971 Khan Mojlish was the principal of the Physical Institute. He testified that now his son Tarek Khan Mojlish is the principal of this institute. Rustom denied that Tarek Khan Mojlish is older than him. The witness acknowledged that his father no longer lives with him and that he lives Rustom Ali’s sons from his first wife. He said that his first wife died. He could not specify the year when Tarek Khan Mojlish became the principal of the Physical Institute. He said that in 1971 the length of a course at the Mohammadpur Physical Training institute was 10 months and now the length of this course is 1 year. He did not know which subjects were taught in this course but said that it is basically a training center to teach gym teachers.

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27 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Hartal Shortened Coverage

Today due to an opposition led hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. We have compiled the following summary from media sources as well as through conversations with the Defense and the Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Application for Privileged Communication with the Accused, Adjournment of Proceedings

On March 24, 2013 Tajul Islam, Defense Counsel of Gholam Azam filed an application seeking permission to meet with his client Gholam Azam. Today the Tribunal allowed the Defense’s request for privileged communication with the Accused, scheduling Abdur Razzaq, Sishir Monir and Gholam Azam to meet on 30 March from 10 am to 1 pm.

The Defense was scheduled to continue their Closing Arguments today, addressing the legal issues based on Charges 1 to 4. However, Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq was not present and a junior Defense attorney requested two days of adjournment for the senior lawyer due to personal difficulties. Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the prayer. The Tribunal allowed the adjournment prayer but imposed costs of Thaka 5,000 on the absent lawyer.

24 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments, Chowdhury Defense Application for Police Protection

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Closing arguments
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury – Defense Counsel Application for Police Protection to and from the Tribunal

Tajul Islam, Defense Counsel of Gholam Azam filed an application seeking permission to meet with his client Gholam Azam. Additionally, the Defense concluded the closing arguments on factual issues. Arguments continued for 5 days and addressed Prosecution and Defense witnesses as well as Charge 5. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings until 27 March 2013, when Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present the Defense arguments on legal issues and Charges 1 to 4.

In the case of Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, senior Defense counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena, filed an application seeking police protection for coming to the Tribunal during days when hartals or other political unrest present security concerns. He requested that his car be accompanied by full time uniformed police gunman. The Tribunal scheduled a hearing of the petition for tomorrow and adjourned the proceedings until then.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam- Defense Closing Arguments
Prosecution Witness 16 – The Investigating Officer
The Defense read out different paragraphs from the testimony of the Investigating Officer, Prosecution witness 16. Mizanul Islam submitted that during the cross-examination the witness was asked whether Gholam Azam had a direct connection with the local Peace Committee but was only able to refer to Exhibit-57, the Daily Pakistan dated 16 April 1971. The Defense noted that the contents of Exhibit-57 do not answer the question. The article discusses the formation of a 21 member executive committee within the Peace Committee and states its purpose as bringing back normalcy at the direction of the Central Peace Committee. On cross-examination the Investigating Officer admitted that he did not find any direction or order bearing the signature of Gholam Azam. The witness also admitted that there was no resolution which designated Gholam Azam the power to cancel or suspend any local level Peace Committee. The Defense noted that the Investigating Officer was unable to specify who had authority within the Peace Committee to issue directions or orders to the local level committees. The Investigating Officer claimed that directions and orders from the Central Peace Committee were communicated to the local level Peace Committees by newspapers, television and radio broadcast. He further testified that the local level Peace Committees were bound to follow the directions. However, the Defense noted that the witness had admitted that he did not know the broadcasting range of Dhaka television stations and acknowledged that due to poor communication there was often a delay in orders reaching newspapers in remote areas such as Taknaf and Tetulia. The witness also admitted that he had no evidence as to whether the Daily Shangram or the Daily Paigam was distributed in Patuakhali (a remote area). Continue reading