Category Archives: Trial of Abdul Qader Molla

Weekly Digest, Issue No. 1 – January 20-24, 2013

This is the first issue of the Weekly Digest, a summary of proceedings at the International Crimes Tribunal that will be published on a weekly basis. These reports are designed to provide an overview of events in a digestible manner, suitable to those who want to stay abreast of the proceedings but do not have the time to follow the Daily Summaries.

This week the Tribunal issued its first verdict, the judgment in the Case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Abul Kalam Azad, alias Bachu. The Defendant was tried in absentia by Tribunal 2, and found guilty of six counts of crimes against humanity and one count of genocide. He was sentenced to death by hanging. Tribunal 1 primarily heard the Defense’s closing arguments in Chief Prosecutor vs. Delwar Hossain Sayedee. The Tribunal additionally addressed applications for the removal of Prosecutor Zead al-Malum among other matters.

Read the full report:

Weekly Digest, Issue 1 – Jan 20-24

Contents of Weekly Digest Issue No. 1
Cases Covered:
Tribunal 1: Sayedee, Nizami, Golam Azam, Chowdhury
Tribunal 2: Kalam Azad, Mujahid, Kamaruzzaman, Qader Molla, Abdul Alim

Applications and Orders:
Tribunal 1: Application for Removal of Prosecutor Zead al-Malum; Application for Contempt Proceedings against Ahmed Ziauddin; Application for Review of Order Denying Retrial; Application for Extension of Bail;

Tribunal 2: Final Judgment; Contempt Proceedings against MK Anwar and Sranjit Sen Gupta; Witness Testimony

Read the full report here:

Weekly Digest, Issue 1 – Jan 20-24

5 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Qader Molla GUILTY verdict

Today Tribunal 2 issued the second verdict of the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. The verdict was issued against Abdul Qader Molla who was tried on 6 counts of Crimes Against Humanity.

The Tribunal found Qader Molla GUILTY on 5 of 6 Charges. He was found NOT GUILTY of Charge 4. The court sentenced Qader Molla to 15 years imprisonment for Charges 1, 2, and 3. They sentenced him to life imprisonment for Charges 5 and 6.

Tribunal’s Summary of Judgment available here: Summary of Molla Judgment
Full Judgment available here: Qader Molla Full Judgement

Continue reading

4 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Adjournment and Announcement of Upcoming Verdict in Qader Molla Case

The Tribunal 2 only convened for a very brief morning session, stating that it will not hear the scheduled cases. There was a “hint” that the Tribunal might deliver its second judgment the following day.

The Registrar of the International Crimes Tribunal, Mr AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud,  officially announced on Monday at 1:30 pm that the Tribunal-2 has fixed Tuesday, 5 February 2013 to issue the verdict in the case of Abdul Qader Molla. The closing arguments for the case were concluded last month on 17 January 2013.  Following its maiden judgment in the case of Abul Kalam Azad, alias Bachchu , passed on 21 January 2013, this shall mark the second judgment by this Tribunal. Tribunal 2 is comprised of f Justice Obaidul Hassan as the Chairman, Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge Md. Shahinur Islam.

It remains to be seen whether the judgment of the Azad case will be treated as judicial precedent to be followed in other ICT verdicts.

Under Section 21(1) of the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973, defendants who are convicted by the Tribunal have the right to appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh within 30 days from the date of conviction. The prosecution will have right to appeal against acquittal under Section 21(2) of the ICT.

15 Jan 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Qader Molla, Alim, Mujahid

The Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Quader Molla – Defense closing arguments  (Accused Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim– Examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid – Examination of Prosecution Witness (Accused Present)

In the case of Qader Molla the Defense continued its closing arguments, attacking the prosecution’s evidence in support of charges 5 and 6. In particular they attacked the credibility of witnesses who had testified in support of the charges. The Tribunal urged them to complete their arguments and stated that they would only have one hour during tomorrow’s session to do so.

In the case against Mujahid, the Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of their 12th witness, who provided testimony in support of Charge 7, pertaining to the killing of the witness’ brothe,r Biren Shaha, along with 8 to 9 others from the Hindu community on 13 May 1971.

Finally, in the case against A.M.Alim, the Prosecution conducted its examination-in-chief of their 9th witness, Jahidul Islam, who testified in support of Charge 6, pertaining to the killing of Abdus Salam and nine others in early May 1971, as the victims were fleeing the conflict on their way to India.

To read in more detail please continue reading here: Continue reading

13 Jan 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Qader Molla Defense Closing Arguments

Today, ICT 2 heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Quader Molla – Defense Closing Arguments (Accused was Present)

The Defense focused their submissions on the following legal points:

  • The case was brought to the ICT without filing the appropriate legal complaint
  • The transfer of the case from a domestic court to the ICT was improper and did not follow appropriate procedure.
  • The Investigating Officer improperly submitted the Investigation Report before completion of investigation and did not follow procedure in maintaining the Case Diary.
  • The evidence provided by prosecution witnesses 4 and 7 is flawed and contradictory

On behalf of Qader Molla, Defense counsel Tarafdar continued the closing arguments by attacking the instigation of the case and then by analysing the prosecution’s evidence and witness testimony.

The Case Was Not Properly Instigated
The Defense claimed that the case against Qader Molla was improperly instigated because an initial complaint containing the allegations against the Accused was not filed before the ICT. Tarafdar pointed out that the case began after cases pending  against Qader Molla in Pallabi and Keranigonj, based on complaints filed in the respective area’s police stations, were sent from the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court to the Registrar’s office at the ICT. The Defense questioned whether 1) it was appropriate for the records of cases pending before a court to be transferred to the tribunal in this manner and 2)whether the tribunal may proceed with cases that are ongoing under the Penal Code.

The Defense argued that a case must be instituted by filing a complaint against the accused or suspect.  Although the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 contains no such provision, the Defense argued that the International Crimes (Tribunal-2) Rules of Procedure 2012 implies a similar requirement.  Rule 2(6) defines “complaint” as any information, oral or in writing obtained by the Investigation Agency including its own knowledge relating to the commission of a crime under section 3(2) of the 1973 Act. The Defense claimed that no such information was ever obtained.

The Defense argued that the two cases that were transferred from the Metropolitan Magistrates Court to the ICT (Case No.34 of Keraniganj police station, dated 31 December 2007;  and Case No. 60 of Pollobi police station, dated 25 January 2008)  were based on the Penal Code and so are outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The Defense further argued that the 1973 Act and the 2010 Rules of Procedure contain no provision allowing for the transfer of such cases to the ICT. The Defense argued that such transfer is not allowed and that due to these and other procedural improprieties, the investigation and initiation of the case against Qader Molla in the ICT should be nullified.

Irregularities in the Investigation Process
The Defense further alleged that there had been irregularities in the investigation process. They noted that the Investigation Report was submitted by the Investigation Officer (IO) before the completion of the investigation and that the Case Diary in which the investigation progress is recorded was not properly kept afterwards. The Defense noted that the IO, who later gave testimony as prosecution witness 12, only referred to 3 of the 6 charges ultimately brought against Qader Molla during in his examination-in-chief. Therefore the Defense claimed the investigation was flawed and the charges ultimately framed against Qader Molla were similarly flawed.

The Defense stated that the Investigation Officer (IO) began his investigation on 22 July 2010. As per Rule 8(1), the IO is required to maintain a Case Diary until the completion of the investigation and as per Rule 11, he must submit an Investigation Report after the completion of the investigation.The Defense highlighted that the IO admitted during his testimony that he continued his investigation after submitting the investigation report, contrary to Rule 11. The Defense argued that the IO does not have lawful authority to continue investigation in this manner. Furthermore, they argued that Section 8(4) of the 1973 Act provides for only one IO as the wording “any investigation officer” has been used.  The Defense stated that the prosecution team also investigated, and that this duplicated the job of the IO in a way not provided for in the Act. The investigation was thus flawed on the basis of which charges have been brought which were also flawed.

The judges requested the Defense to address the underlying evidential defects in regards to each of the charges, asking Tarafdar to deal with each charge chronologically and separately. The Defense chose to begin with Charge 4 even though the Judges suggested he begin with Charge 1.

Witness Testimony in favor of Charge 4 is Not Credible:
The Defense began criticizing the prosecution’s evidence for charge 4 by attacking the witnesses who testified in support of the charge (PWs 1,7 and 8).

The Defense noted that Prosecution Witness 1, Mr Mozaffar Ali Khan, testified in support of charge 4, alleging that he saw Qader Molla in front of Mirpur Physical Training Centre and that he was armed and accompanied by along with his associates. He neither saw the incident alleged in the charge, nor Quader Molla’s participation in it. The Defense further noted that the withness had previously testified before the Chief Judicial Magistrate pertaining to a case filed in 2007 [CR Case No. 17/2007 in CMM Court, subsequently transformed to GR Case No. 34(12)2007 in Keranigonj Police Station], but did not make any statement implicating Qader Molla.

The Defense additionally noted that Mozaffar Ali Khan had been acquainted with the accused since 1969 due to political rivalry. Yet Mr. Khan did not complain about the accused after the liberation war, which gives rise to further doubt in regards the involvement of the accused.

The Defense then focused on prosecution witness 7, Mr Abdul Majid Paluan. The counsel alleged that the IO recorded this witnesses statement falsified the date when the statement was actually recorded by backdating it. The Defense alleged that prosecution witnesses 7 and 8 were actually only produced later, when the IO found that prosecution witness 1 could not give enough evidence against the accused in support of the charge.

The judges commented that there had been some inconsistencies in the testimony of witness 7, in that he first alleged that he saw the accused participate in the shooting whereas he later said that he heard from others that the accused had been involved.

The tribunal then adjourned for the day. They noted that they had allocated the entire day for the defense counsel’s arguments and asked him to sum up before lunch break tomorrow.

Courtroom Dynamics
The Defense counsel was at times slow and repetitive in his submissions. The judges noted their dissatisfaction with the pace of the arguments and asked the defense to be more expeditious. At some points, a strain between the judges and the counsel was apparent.