Category Archives: Trial of Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid

27 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Contempt, Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Moinuddin Order, Mujahid Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings vs. Prosecution Witness 2, Jalal
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury Moinuddin
  4. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid

The day’s proceedings began with the Defense notifying the court that Prosecution witness 2 in the Mujahid case had allegedly assaulted Defense counsel member Munshi Ahsan Kabir near his chambers in Paltan, Dhaka. On 26 May 2013, Mr. Kabir was on his way to the chamber to attend a meeting of the Defense team. As he was descending from his rikshaw he encountred the witness, Jalal, who verbally assaulted him, calling him ‘son of Rajakar’ and using other insults and curses. The Defense claimed that Jalal then kicked Mr. Kabir in his lower abdomen by the prosecution witness, causing him to collapse on the ground. Jalal fled the scene. Mr. Kabir was then taken to the hospital by local people. The Defense urged the Tribunal to take action against the attacker of the and expressed the hope that all would agree, including the Prosecution. The Tribunal fixed 28 May 2013 for a hearing of the Defense’s contempt petition regarding the attack.

The Tribunal nex passed an order allowing the trials of Md Ashrafuzaman Khan, alias Nayeb Ali, and Moinuddin Chowdhury to be held in absentia under Section 10A of the ICT Act and Rule 32 of the Rules of Procedure of Tribunal-2. The judges observed that the two accused have not appeared before the court despite publication of notices in two widely circulated national dailies. The Tribunal stated that the two are considered to have absconded in an effort to avoid trial and that therefore their trials will commence in their absence. Mr Abdus Shukur Khan and Salma Hye Tuni, both learned advocates of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh have been selected as State-appointed-counsels to defend the accused, and will receive remuneration as approved by the Tribunal.

Finally, the in the case of Mujahid the Defense resumed Closing Arguments, addressing factual and evidentiary issues pertaining to Charges 2 to 6. The Defense noted that Charge 7 would be addressed on the following day and that Defense counsel Abdur Razzak would subsequently discuss relevant legal issues in the case.  Continue reading

26 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Hartal Coverage

Today the Tribunal was scheduled to hear matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

Today the Defense counsel in Mujahid’s case was absent, claiming personal difficulty resulting from the nationwide hartal called by BNP-led 18 party alliance. The court adjourned the Defense Closing Arguments until tomorrow.

The case of Abdul Alim was also adjourned because the Prosecution was unable to produce Prosecution witness 21 for the continuation of his cross-examination. The case will resume on  5 June 2013.

16 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Prosecution Closing Arguments

The Prosecution presented their key legal arguments in the case against Mujahid. Prosecutor Afroz addressed a range of legal issues in conjunction Charges 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7. A written outline of the arguments was provided as reference for the Tribunal. The Defense counsel objected because the cover photograph of the outline showed numerous skulls. The Defense argued that such a picture is unnecessary, inappropriate and prejudicial. The Prosecution disagreed, claiming that there is nothing in the law or rules of procedure prohibiting such photographs. The judges agreed with the Prosecutor’s submission, adding that such a photograph will neither be detrimental nor advantageous to the case against the accused and will have no impact on the judicial process.

Prosecutor’s Arguments:
The Prosecution presented arguments on the following issues:

  1.  Legal argument on the absence of victims’ dead body.
  2. Legal argument on ‘extermination ‘ in contrast to ‘murder’.
  3. The doctrine of superior responsibility and how it has been established by the evidence admitted.
  4. Evaluation of documentary evidences and further evaluation of the charges.

The Actus Reus of Murder and Necessity of Victim’s Body as Evidence (relevant to Charges 1 and 5)
The Prosecution began by emphasizing that the bodies of the victims in Charges 1 and 5 were recovered. She argued that the actus reus, of murder requires that the Prosecution prove that the killing itself occurred. Where the body is not found or recovered the killing remains unproved, resulting in the failure of the Prosecution’s case. In this case, Prosecutor Afroz argued that the Defense cannot claim that the actus reus in Charges 1 and 5 has not been proven by reason of failure to find the body of the victims. Continue reading

12 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Prosecution Closing Arguments, Moinuddin and Khan Pre-Trial

Due to a national hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings today. Our coverage is therefore gathered from media sources and conversations with the Prosecution and Defense.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid
  2. Pre-trial of Chowdhury Moinuddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan

The Prosecution continued Closing Arguments in the Mujahid case. They began addressing the evidentiary aspects of the case and Charges 1 and 2.

Under Charge 1 Mujahid is accused of the abduction and subsequent murder of Mr Seraj Uddin Hossain, who was the then Executive Editor of the Daily Ittefaq. Mujahid is charged with abduction and murder as Crimes Against Humanity, under section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act. Prosecution witness 4 testified in support of the charge. It is additionally alleged that Mr. Chowdhury Moinuddin and Mr Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who have recently been separately indicted, partnered with Mujahid, members of Al-Badr and the Pakistani Army in the commission of these crimes.

Charge 2 alleges that Mujahid commited persecution as a Crime Against Humanity and Genocide in conjunction with attacks committed in Baidyadangi, Majhidangi and Baladanga. He is charged under section 3(2)(a) and Section 3(2)(c) of the ICT Act. Prosecution witnesses 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 supported the allegations within Charge 2. It is alleged that Mujahid committed the alleged crimes with the assistance and participation of Abul Kalam Azad, Hammad Maolana, Gofur Rajakar, Jahangir Razakar, Kalu Bihari and other members of the Pakistani Army, the Razakars, Al-Badr, the Peace Committee and members of the Bihari community.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Chowdhury Moinuddin and Chief Prosecutor vs. Ashrafuzzaman Khan
The Tribunal also addressed the cases against Chowdhury Moinuddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan. The Police submitted an official report stating that they had been unable to arrest the accused because they are out of country, Moinuddin residing in the United Kingdom and Ashrafuzzaman in the United States. The Tribunal then issued an order to the Office of the Registrar requesting them to publish an advertisement in two widely circulated national dailies asking the two Accused to appear before the Tribunal within 10 days of its publication, failing which a trial-in-absentia will be conducted.

Administrative Issues:
Brussels based legal expert Ahmed Ziauddin who allegedly conducted inappropriate Skype conversations regarding the proceedings with the former Chairman of Tribunal 1, submitted his response to contempt proceedings against him in compliance with the Tribunal 2’s order of 3 January 2013. The submission was received by the Registrar of the ICT through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The matter will soon appear in the Daily Cause List of the Tribunal for further order.

5 May 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid DW 1

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: DW 1

Today the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of the first Defense witness in the Mujahid case. The witness is the youngest son of Mujahid and testified as a formal witness, exhibiting various documents before the Tribunal in support of the Defense case. After the conclusion of the cross-examination of the witness the Tribunal asked the Defense whether they plan to call any additional Defense witnesses. Defense counsel stated that they are unable to determine which witness to choose because the Tribunal has limited them to two witnesses in order to avoid unnecessary delay. The judges stated that this may be beneficial to the Defense because defense witnesses in previous cases have actually caused harm to the Defense’s case. The Tribunal then adjourned for the day till lunch.

After lunch, the overall security of the court area significantly deteriorated due to a mass protest by the Hefazat-e-Islam group in the Paltan Area in Dhaka. Our researchers therefore left the Tribunal at that time.

Defense Witness 1

The witness is a formal witness who exhibited the following documentary evidence: Continue reading

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