Category Archives: Trial of Md. Kamaruzzaman

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

16 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Final Closing Arguments, Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17

The publication of this post was delayed as we were waiting to obtain certain documents from the Prosecution. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecution vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Defense application and Conclusion of Prosecution Closing Arguments, Accused Present 
  2. Chief Prosecution vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: Defense Application and Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer

The Tribunal heard the last of the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman  case. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz addressed remaining legal issues including the value of hearsay evidence, inconsistencies and the old evidence rule, and the doctrine of Superior Responsibility under Section 4(2). Two other Prosecutors made additional closing remarks before the Tribunal allowed the Defense to present a brief rebuttal. The case was then closed and the Tribunal officially took it into consideration awaiting verdict.

In the Mujahid case the Tribunal heard a Prosecution application seeking limitation of the number of Defense witnesses allowed. The Defense previously submitted a list of 1500 names listed as possible defense witnesses. After Disposing of the Application and limiting the Defense to three witnesses, the Tribunal then returned to the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
Defense Application for Opportunity to Make Statement
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, the defense submitted an application on behalf of the accused under Section 17(1) and (2) of the ICT Act seeking permission for the Accused to make a statement before the Tribunal. Section 17(1) provides that the Accused “shall have the right to give any explanation relevant to the charge mage against him.” Section 17(2) allows the Accused to conduct his own Defense or to have the assistance of counsel.

The Prosecution opposed the application and stated that such a statement could only be allowed while the Tribunal is hearing witnesses. However, Closing Arguments are taking place and there is no such right at this stage of proceedings.

The Judges quickly rejected the application and agreed with the Prosecution’s interpretation of the Statute.  Continue reading

Weekly Digest 10: March 24-28

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

The Tribunal was in recess on 26 March 2013 in honor of Bangladesh’s independence day. Additionally, opposition parties declared hartals on the 27th and 28th of March. Therefore our coverage of those days is gathered from media sources as well as discussions with the Defense and Prosecution. Our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days due to security concerns.

Tribunal 1:
Proceedings in Tribunal 1 continued to center on the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case this week, with counsel completing their submissions regarding factual issues and Charge 5. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present arguments on legal issues and Charges 1-4 next week. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witnesses 22 and 23. Additionally, The Tribunal heard Chowdhury’s Defense application for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2:
Tribunal 2 dealt with two cases this week. In the Kamaruzzaman case, Defense witness 5 completed providing testimony, and the Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The Tribunal also heard testimony from Prosecution witness 17, the Investigating Officer, in the Mujahid case.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 10 – March 24-28

Weekly Digest Issue 9: March 17-21

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

Hartals again interrupted our coverage of the ICT trials. Sunday, 17 March 2013, was a national holiday, and the Tribunal was in recess. Hartals (strikes) were called by the opposition party coalition on Monday and Tuesday, and due to security concerns our researchers were unable to attend. Therefore, our summaries for those days are drawn from media sources as well as conversations with the Defense and Prosecution. On Thursday, both Tribunal 1 and Tribunal 2 adjourned early, after it was announced that the President of Bangladesh had passed away on Wednesday.

Tribunal 1
In Tribunal 1, the Defense and the Prosecution in the Gholam Azam case presented in-depth arguments regarding the applicability of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility to civilians. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 21, who began providing testimony the previous week. The Defense for Sayedee presented two additional applications: one for bail, and the other or certified copies of documents from two criminal cases in the district court system. The Tribunal also heard the examination of Prosecution witness 3 in the Nizami case. Finally, citing the growing insecurity in Dhaka, Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury applied for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2
Tribunal 2 also experienced significant delays due to hartals, absence of counsel, and illness of witnesses. The court heard the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 13 in the Abdul Alim case and granted an extension for the production of a Defense witness in the Kamaruzzaman case. Additionally, the Tribunal dealt with ongoing contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 9 – March 17-21

16 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Prosecution Reply to Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman – Prosecution Reply – Closing Arguments

Our summary of the Prosecution’s reply to the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case is forthcoming. We are consulting Prosecution documents to make sure that our coverage is detailed and accurate. Please check back here for the full length post which we will publish shortly.

15 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammed Kamaruzzaman: Final Defense Closing Arguments

The Defense for Muhammad Kamaruzzaman presented the last of their Closing Arguments for the case. Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique began the submission on behalf of the Accused, Kamaruzzaman. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq appeared and informed the Tribunal that he would resume his portion of the submission after the lunch break. The Defense highlighted five weaknesses of the Prosecution’s case: 

  •  Evidentiary weakness of Charges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Contradictory witness testimony 
  • Inconsistencies between courtroom witness testimony and original statements to the Investigating Officer
  • Credibility issues
  • Failure to Fulfill Requirements of Doctrine of Command Responsibility

Defense counsel Ehsan began his submission with arguments on further legal points involved in Charge-2. He then addressed inconsistencies and contradictions in the witness testimony and documentary evidence submitted in support of Charges-3, 5, 6, and 7.

After lunch, Abdur Razzaq made some final closing remarks regarding Charge 2 before turning to Charge 4.  He identified and outlined the substantial contradictions between the testimonies of the relevant witnesses. The Defense argued that the Prosecution has primarily relied on oral evidence and did not produce a lot of documentary evidence. Razzaq stated that given numerous inconsistencies and contradictions, the testimony of the Prosecution witnesses leaves too much doubt for a conviction to be justified. The Defense claimed that Kamaruzzaman has been targeted solely because of his political affiliations.

Charge-2:
Definition of “Other Inhumane Acts” as Crimes Against Humanity
Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique claimed that the charge of complicity in Charge-2 has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He submitted that the term “other inhumane acts” is not a catch-all category and cannot be used to include any type of action not otherwise enumerated within the statute. He cited to the ICTR Trial Chamber’s decision in The Prosecutor v Clement Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, para 583, states that the category should not be utilized by the Prosecution as an all-encompassing, “catch-all” term.

Continue reading

11 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Adjournment

Due to an ongoing nation-wide hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings today. 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. Muhammed Kamaruzzaman

Today the Tribunal adjourned the Kamaruzzaman case for the fourth consecutive day due to the absence of the senior Defense counsel. The Defense stated that the senior counsel were unable to attend due to personal difficulties resulting from the hartal.  The Chairman of the Tribunal reiterated that the Defense has been granted the right to use law enforcement if necessary on Hartal days. The judges stated that absence amounts to obstruction of the judicial process. Furthermore, the Tribunal noted that given the present political situation, hartals are becoming more frequent. Therefore the Tribunal cannot continue to adjourn proceedings and would close the Defense’s case if they fail to attend on upcoming hartal days.