Tag Archives: AKM Yusuf

1 August 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Charge Framing Order

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

1. Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf

The Tribunal formally read out its Charge Framing Order against the accused A.K.M Yusuf.

Background of the accused
AKM Yusuf, who is now 87 years old, was an active member of Jamiate-Talabee-e-Arabia during his student life and joined Jamaat-e-Islami in 1952. In 1957 he became the Chief of Jamaat’s Khulna Division, prior to becoming elected as a Member of National Assembly in 1962. He was then nominated as the Provincial Joint Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1969 and acted as the Deputy Amir of then East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islam in the year 1971.

It is alleged that Yusuf was the Chairman of the Peace Committee of greater Khulna and formed Razakar forces in the sub-division, police station, and local union level in greater Khulna district. He was previously prosecuted and convicted under the Collaborators Order of 1972, soon after Bangladesh’s victory over Pakistani forces. However he was released following an amnesty issued by the government.

Procedural History & the Charge Framing Order
The Chief Prosecutor submitted the Formal Charge against AKM Yusuf on 28 April 2013, relying on the Investigation Report of the Investigation Agency. Tribunal 1 took cognizance of the offences on 12 May 2013 after finding a prima facie case against him and issued a warrant for his arrest. The Accused was arrested on 14 May 2013 and has been in custody since then. The case was transferred to Tribunal 2. Upon hearing the proposed charges read out by Prosecutor Mr Rishikesh Saha on 14 July 2013 and the Defense’s response on 24 July 2013, the Tribunal fixed today to issue the Charge Framing Order. The Chairman of Tribunal 2 read out the Charge Framing on behalf of the bench. The Judges stated that a previous sentence under the Collaborators Order of 1972 and the amnesty granted for convictions of such offences does not bar the Accused’s trial for the commission of Crimes Against Humanity or Genocide. They framed 13 Charges against AKM Yusuf, alleging actual commission, complicity and superior responsibility for Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide.

The full Charge Framing Order can be read here: AKM Yusuf Charge Framing Order

  • Charge-1: Abetting and substantially contributing to Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity for looting and burning 400 shops and houses at Morleganj. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-2: Abetting and substantially contributing to Genocide, or in the alternative Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity for the torture and killing of 50-60 civilians in the Hindu community of Ranjitpur village. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-3: Abetting and substantially contributing to Genocide, or in the alternative,  Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity at Morelganj Bazar locality. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-4: Abetting and substantially contributing to Genocide, or in the alternative, Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity for ordering Razakars to kill 600-700 Hindu civilians in Dakra village of Rampal, Bagherhat. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-5: Abetting and substantially contributing to Genocide, or in the alternative, Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity at Chulkuthi Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-6:  Abetting and substantially encouraging Razakars to commit Genocide, or in the alternative, Murder as a Crime Against Humanity for the abduction, detention, torture and killing of civilians at Vasha Bazar under Kachua Police Station. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-7: Abetting and substantially encouraging Razakars to commit Genocide, or in the alternative, Murder as a Crime Against Humanity for the abduction, detention, torture and killing of 40 Hindu civilians at Shakarikathi Bazar under Kachua Police Station. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-8: Abetting and substantially encouraging Razakars to commit Genocide, or in the alternative, Murder as a Crime Against Humanity for the abduction, detention, torture and killing of 40 Hindu civilians at Shakarikathi Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(i)(h) and Section 3(2)(a)(g)of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-9: Abetting and substantially contributing to Murder as a Crime Against Humanity for the killing of Abu Bakar Siddique at Barukhali Razakar camp. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-10: Abetting and substantially contributing to Murder as a Crime Against Humanity for the murder of three unarmed freedom fighters at Raenda Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-11: Abetting and substantially contributing to Murder as a Crime Against Humanity of two unarmed freedom fighters at Tafalbari Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-12: Abetting the Murder of Dr Majid as a Crime Against Humanity at Morelganj Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.
  • Charge-13: Participating in and abetting the Murder of Abdus Salam as a Crime Against Humanity at Raenda Bazar. Charged under Section 3(2)(a)(g) of the ICT Act.

All the above counts contain charges under both Section 4(1) and 4(2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1972, with exception to Charge-1 that contains charge under Section 4(1) only.

The Tribunal also rejected AKM Yusuf’s bail application, requiring him to be in jail custody during the trial. The trial is scheduled to commence on 5 September 2013 when the Prosecution will place its opening statement.

The full Charge Framing Order can be read here: AKM Yusuf Charge Framing Order

14 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Charge Hearing

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial stage of AKM Yusuf case 

Today Tribunal 2 heard the proposed charges against AKM Yusuf from the Prosecution. They shcheduled 18 July 2013 for the hearing of the Defense’s reply, following which the Charge Framing Order will be passed. After the Prosecution concluded its hearing on the charge framing, the Defense submitted an application requesting privileged communication with the Defendant who is being held in pre-trial detention. .The request was granted. Although the Defense also requested two days additional time for case preparation prior to communication with the Accused, the Tribunal emphasized the need to deal with the cases expeditiously and scheduled the meeting for 17 July 2013, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Two members of the Defense team will meet AKM Yusuf in jail for privileged communication.

4 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Scheduled Hearing of Charges, Abdul Alim Cross-Examination of PW 11

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial stages against AKM Yusuf
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

In the pre-trial proceedings against AKM Yusuf the Tribunal passed an order stating that it would begin hearing the charges against the accused. Defense counsel Tajul Islam informed the Tribunal that they had only just received the AKM Yusuf’s brief and requesting additional time to prepare upon receiving client instruction. The Tribunal then scheduled the Charge Hearing for 14 July 2013.  AKM Yusuf, a Jamaat-e-Islami political leader, was arrested on 12 May 2013. Tribunal 1 initially took cognizance of the allegations against Yusuf, and the case was then transferred to Tribunal 2.

The Tribunal then turned to the Alim case where they allowed the Defense to recall Prosecution witness 11 for cross-examination. The initial examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 11 was conducted in the absence of Defense counsel. The Defense had requested an adjournment on several occasions (17, 25, and 27 February 2013) due to the inability of the defense counsel to attend the court proceedings for miscellaneous reasons. The Tribunal denied these applications and allowed the examination-in-chief of the witness to take place without Defense presence. The witness has been recalled based on a defense application arguing that recalling the witness was necessary for the interest of justice.

Abdul Alim Prosecution Witness 11 Cross-Examination
The Defense’s cross-examination aimed at undermining the reliability of the evidence and the credibility of the witness. In particular, they implied that the witness could not have identified Alim as being connected with the alleged charges and that he did not know Alim during the war. They alleged that the witness was not even in Bangladesh. 

The witness stated that he has 3 brothers and 4 sisters and they all lived together in the same house in 1971. He does not know when the Pakistani Army invaded Jaipurhat. He stated that he did not go to Jaipurhat Sadar road during the 1971 war and also never went to Alim’s house before or during war or  during the war. He stated that he was unable to remember when the Pakistani Army first entered in Khetlal area and could not say if there was an Army Brigade headquarters in Khetlal. The witness further stated that he does not know how many army camps were there but heard that there was one army camp, though he could not say where it was located. 

The Defense asked the witness how many members there were in the Jaipurhat Peace Committee or who its secretary was at that time. He said that probably someone named Abdul Sardar was the Chairman of Khetlal Peace Committee, but he could not name the the Secretary. He said he did not know how many members were in the Jaipurhat Peace Committee. The witness stated that the house of Saidur Rahman, who he had referred to in his previous testimony, is located in Mandal Para about 300 yards south-west of the witness’ house. He testified that he did visit Saidur Rahman’s house before the war of liberation. The witness testified that Saidur Rahman had 4 brothers and 1 sister and his father is the late Esharat Ullah Mandal.

The witness stated that he studied at Kalai Moinuddin High School, whose Principal was Qazi Talibur Rahman. His confirmed his date of birth (as it appears on his SSC certificate) as 1 July 1955. He said he was not a voter during the 1970 General Election. The witness acknowledged that he did not file a case regarding the murder of his family but said he was not sure whether anyone else from his family filed a case. The Defense noted that the late Badol’s brother, Biswanath Dev, filed a case against 6 persons in 1972. They suggested that the witness was intentionally pretending not to know about this case because Abdul Alim is not accused in that case. The witness denied the suggestion.

The witness then stated that he was not present during the meeting between Alim, other Peace Committee members and Major Afzal. He claimed that he did not know whether there were news reports about the meeting.

The witness said he did not show to the Investigation Officer the bush where the alleged incident took place. He described the area around his house. He stated the distance between his house and Hazunza Har is about 2 to 2.5 km. There are two villages in between, Harunza Hat to Khetlal is 3 to 4 Km of distance. There is a mosque in the South-West of the witness’s house after which there lies a Hindu village. 

The witness acknowledged that he does not have any documentary evidence to show that Alim was the Chairman of local Peace Committee or a Rajakar member, but he reiterated that he had heard that Alim held those positions. He denied that Abbas Ali Khan was the actual Chairman. The witness said that he does not know whether the Razakars had a uniform or dress code. He denied the Defense’s suggestion that there was no bush near his house in 1971 and that he was not actually in Bangladesh at the time. He said that he does not know about any village named Turipara near Alim’s house.

The Defense alleged that the witness is providing fabricated evidence before the Tribunal at the instruction of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council. The judges objected and stated that this suggestion would not be recorded as it is aggravating towards religious groups. The Defense also alleged that Alim was in hiding during the war.

3 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Hartal Brief Coverage: AKM Yusuf Transfer of Documents, Alim PW 32

Today due to a nationwide hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. Coverage of the following cases has been gathered from media sources as well as through conversation with both the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

In the case against AKM Yusuf documents pertaining to the allegations against him were formally transferred from Tribunal 1 to Tribunal 2. Tribunal 2 also directed the Gazipur jail authorities to transport the Mr. AKM Yusuf in an appropriate vehicle given his health condition. The direction was given after Mr Saifur Rahman, Defense counsel for the Accused, informed the Tribunal that the accused was brought to the court in a microbus as opposed to a prison van despite the fact that he is seriously ill.

The Tribunal then moved to the case against Abdul Alim and recorded the testimony of Prosecution witness 32, Mr Rafiqul Islam Raju, who is the Advertisement Manager of the Bogra-based Daily Bangladesh. The witness is a formal witness who exhibited two issues of his newspaper dated 17 January 1971 and 23 January 1971.  Both newspaper issues were seized by the Investigation Officer during the investigation into the current case.  The Defense summarily conducted the cross-examination of the witness. The court then scheduled 4 July 2013 for the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 11, who is being recalled following an application by the Defense.

6 June 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary Yusuf Pre-Trial Hearing, Chowdhury PW 41

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

In the AKM Yusuf case, the Tribunal was scheduled to hear the initial presentation of proposed charges against AKM Yusuf. The Defense objected and argued that they had not been given full access to the documents upon which the Prosecution intends to rely. The Tribunal decided it would review the documents and direct the Prosecution accordingly.

In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Defense continued the cross-examination of the Investigation officer, Md Nurul Islam, Prosecution witness 41. Thereafter, the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until 9 June, 2013.  Continue reading

14 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Denial of Bail

Today due to a nation-wide hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings. Therefore our coverage is very brief.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf

The Tribunal passed an order rejecting the Defens’s request for bail in consideration of the gravity of the allegations against the Defendant. The Tribunal  asked the jail authorities to ensure Yusuf’s proper medical treatment. They fixed 6 June for the next hearing in the case and asked the Prosecution to submit all its supporting documents.

12 May 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Hartal, Nizami PW 7, AKM Yusuf Cognizance of Charges

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami 
  2. Chief Prosecution vs AKM Yusuf

In the Nizami case the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Prosecution Witness 7, Pardip Kumar Dev, who testified in support of charge 4. This charge alleges that Motiur Rahman Nizami conspired to commit crimes under section 3(2)(g) of the ICT Act 1973 and was complicit in murders, rapes, looting and destruction of properties committed in the village Karamja,  The charge alleges both accomplice liability under Section 4(1) and Command Responsibility liability under Section4(2) of the ICT Act 1973.

Pardip testified that during the killing he saw Sukur, Afzal, Asad, and Moslem Gong at the site of the  incident. He stated he could not recall whether he was interviewed previously by the Investigating Officer. After asking a few question during which the witness did not implicate the Accused, Prosecutor Mir Iqbal requested permission to declar Pradip Kumar Dey as a hostile witness. The Tribunal granted the request and allowed the Prosecutor to continue as though cross-examining the witness. The Prosecution then suggested that the witness was interviewed by the Investigation Officer on  6 November 2011 and that he accused Motiur Rahman Nizami and Rofiqun Nabi of being involved in the killing. The witness answered that he does not remember the interview. The Prosecution then suggested that he saw Nizami at the site of the alleged killing but is now denying the fact because of financial coercion from the Defense. The witness denied the suggestion. Subsequently the Defense declined to cross-examine the witness.

Today the Tribunal additionally  took cognizance of the Formal Charges submitted against AKM Yusuf and issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest .They requested that law enforcement  produce AKM Yusuf by 26 May 2013.

AKM Yusuf was produced before the Tribunal in the afternoon and the Tribunal sent him  to the jail to be detained until trial. The decision to send him to jail was made in-chambers.