Category Archives: Trial of Gholam Azam

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

Weekly Digest Issue 6: February 24-28

We apologize that we are slightly behind in our weekly digests of the proceedings. Due to limited staff and unforeseen obstacles, including hartals, we have had some delays in our coverage. Our daily summaries are up to date and we hope to have our weekly digests up to date shortly as well. Thank you for your patience.

Please find below our Weekly Digest Issue 6, covering the week of February 24-28. This week was dominated by the announcement of the verdict in Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee on 28 February 2013, in which Sayedee was found guilty of 8 charges and sentenced to death. For a detailed report on the Judgment against Sayedee please see our Special Issue Report, available here.

In addition to issuing the Sayedee Judgment, Tribunal 1 also continued to hear the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case, and the Prosecution submitted Formal Charges against Mubarak Hossain. Tribunal 2 heard proceedings in the Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Alim and Mujahid cases, as well as contempt proceedings.

The Weekly Digest is accessible here: Weekly Digest, Issue 6 – Feb 24-28

 

20 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Defense Closing Arguments, Civilian Command Responsibility

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee – Two Defense Applications (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Closing Arguments on Civilian Superior Command Responsibility (Accused not Present)

On March 20, 2013 Defense counsel for Delwar Hossain Sayedee submitted two applications. The first was a request for bail in regard to two cases filed against Sayedee in the Pirojpur Sadar Police Station Case No 9(8)09 and Zianagar Police Station Case No 4(9)09. The second application requested certified or authenticated copies of the FIR, Charge Sheet, Statement of witnesses and other relevant documents related to these cases in Pirojpur Sadar Police Station and Zianogor Police Station. The Tribunal fixed 21 March 2013 to hear the applications.

In the Gholam Azam case the Tribunal heard Defense counsel Imran Siddiq’s response to the Prosecution’s submissions on the issue of whether a civilian can have superior command responsibility. Prosecutor Turin Afroz submitted arguments for the Prosecution on 18 March 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam:
The Defense argued that the doctrine of command responsibility as described under Section 4(2) of the ICT Act 1973 is not applicable to civilians.

Interpretation of Law and Intent of Legislation
In support of the Defense’s position, Imran Siddiq argued that the legislative intent behind the passage of the ICT Act 1973 and its subsequent amendments showed that command responsibility was only applicable to military or auxiliary forces. He submitted that when the section 3(1) of the ICT Act 1973 was amended in 2009 to add “individual or a group of individuals” to the court’s jurisdiction, Parliament omitted to amend section 4(2) which codifies the doctrine of superior responsibility or command responsibility. Therefore the Defense argued the Prosecution cannot rely on section 4(2) to claim that an “individual or group of individuals” are liable due to command responsibility. Imran Siddiq argued that the text of Section 4(2) clearly limits the doctrine’s application to commanders and superior officers of military and auxiliary forces, showing that it is not applicable to civilians. He emphasized that the use of the terms ‘commander or superior officer’ and ‘persons under his command or his subordinates’ in Section 4(2) support the Defense’s position. Additionally, the Defense cited to Section 134 and 135 of the Penal Code, the Army Act of 1952, Air Force Act of 1953, Navy Ordinance of 1961, Bangladesh Rifles Order of 1972, Battalion Ansar Act of 1995 and Armed Battalions Ordinance of 1976. Imran Siddiq noted that none of these Acts have used the term of “superior officer” or “commander” to describe the authority of a political party leader or a civilian.

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18 March 2012: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Short Coverage due to Hartal

NOTE: Due to security concerns during the hartal our researchers were not able to attend proceedings. This summary is compiled from media coverage and the input from the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Prosecution Arguments on Civilian Command Responsibility (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Saluddin Qader Chowdhury – Cross-examination of PW 21

On 14 March 2013 the Chairman of Tribunal 1 scheduled the 18th for the hearing of arguments from Prosecutor Turin Afroz and Defense counsel Imran Siddique regarding the issue of whether a civilian could have a superior command responsibility. Today Prosecutor Turin Afroz submitted her arguments. Imran Siddique was absent at the Tribunal due to the hartal. A junior Defense counsel who was present submitted an application for adjournment for two days on behalf of both senior Defense counsel Mizanul Islam and Imran Siddique. Thereafter the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings until March 20, 2013 and imposed the cost of taka 5,000 for the delay. The Tribunal directed the Defense to pay the amount along with the taka 1,000 cost which was previously assigned and due March 20, 2013.

Our researchers hope to collect the Prosecution’s written submission regarding command responsibility and will post notes about it.

In the Chowdhury case the Defense counsel was absent and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 21, Abul Bashor, himself. Thereafter Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 19 March 2013.

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14 March 2013: ICT 1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

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

On 14 March 2013 Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam continued the closing arguments for the 4th day. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the Gholam Azam’s case until 18 March 2013.

After the lunch break the Prosecution introduced new Prosecutor Turin Afroz to the Judges of the Tribunal 1. The Chairman said that Tribunal 1 would hear arguments from Prosecutor Turin Afroz and Defense Counsel Imran Siddique for one hour on 18 March regarding the issue of whether a civilian can have superior command responsibility.

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