Tag Archives: command responsibility

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

29 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Prosecution Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

 At the beginning of today’s proceedings the Tribunal summarily rejected an application for adjournment filed yesterday by the Defense requesting additional time for approval from the Chief Justice for High Court judge Shamim Hasnain to testify in the Chowdhury case. The Prosecution then continued with its Closing Arguments for the second consecutive day, addressing charges 3, 4, 5 and 6. Arguments will continue tomorrow. Continue reading

25 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – ATM Azharul Islam Cognizance of Charges, Mir Qasem Ali Defense Applications

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial Proceedings against ATM Azharul Islam
  2. Pre-trial Proceedings against Mir Qasem Ali

Today in pre-trial proceedings against suspect ATM Azharul Islam the Prosecution submitted the Formal Charge before the Tribunal. The Tribunal passed an order taking cognizance of the Formal Charge and numbered the case as ICT BD Case No 5 of 2013. The Tribunal also directed the Prosecution to supply the Defense with all of the documents on which the Prosecution intends to rely, as well as the full list of proposed witnesses by the end of the day. They scheduled 18 August for hearing arguments regarding framing of the charges.

The Tribunal also heard an application filed by Alim’s Defense counsel requesting medically appropriate transportation of the suspect to and from the Tribunal. The Defense submitted that the ATM Azharul Islam suffers from back pain but is transported by prison van. The Prosecution objected saying that if such accommodation was made available to all it would create difficulties for the jail authorities due to the shortage of health friendly vehicles. The Tribunal passed an order directing the jail authority to provide ATM Azharul Islam health friendly vehicle if such vehicle is available to the prison authority.

In the pre-trial proceedings against suspect Mir Qasem Ali the Tribunal heard a Defense application seeking adjournment. The Defense submitted that they need privileged communication with their client Mir Qasem Ali. The Defense also requested legible copies of some Prosecution documents. The Tribunal rejected the request for adjournment but scheduled 28 July and 1 August from 10 am to 1 pm for privileged communication between the Defense and their client. They also directed the Prosecution to supply legible copies of the concerned documents if possible. They then heard the Prosecution’s submissions regarding the proposed charges against Ali.

The Prosecution submitted that until 6 November 1971, Mir Qasem Ali was the secretary of the Islami Chhatra Shangho Chittagong division. Between 6 November and 16 December 1971 they claimed that the Accused was also the general secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Islami Chhatra Shangho. They alleged that Mir Qasem was ‘Al-Badr high command.’ Most of the crimes allegedly committed under the leadership of Qasem Ali of took place at Dalim Hotel. The Prosecution briefly read out the 14 charges proposed against Mir Qasem Ali and stated that they had submitted the investigation report, a book titled ‘Muktijudder Potovumi’ vol- 1 and 2, witness statements, map of the place of occurrence, photos, and CDs in support of the charges. The charges are proposed under sections 3(2)(a), 3(2)(g), and 3(2)(h), indicating allegations of crimes against humanity; attempt, abetment or conspiracy; and complicity. The proposed charges are also framed indicating sections 4(1) and 4(2) as the relevant modes of liability, encompassing joint criminal liability and command responsibility respectively. Among the 14 charges proposed, charges 11 and 12 are for murder while the rest are for confinement, abduction, torture and other inhumane acts.

17 July 2013: Mujahid Found Guilty of 4 Charges – Sentenced to Death

Today Tribunal 2 issued its fourth verdict in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid. It is the sixth verdict issued by the International Crimes Tribunal. The Tribunal found Mujahid guilty of four of seven charges: specifically Charges 3, 5, 6 (which the Tribunal combined with Charge 1, because both stem from the same events), and 7. He was acquitted of Charges 2 and 4.

The Charges and the Verdict:

  • Charge 1: Abetting Abduction as a Crime Against Humanity, or in the alternative, abetting murder as a Crime Against Humanity. This charge was combined with Charge 6 as the Tribunal felt that both pertained to the same incident, the massacre of the Bangladeshi intellectual community in December of 1971.
  • Charge 2: Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity, or in the alternative, for abetting Genocide by participating in an attack on the Hindu villages of Baidyadangi, Majhidangi and Baladangi. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(g) of the Act and Sections 4(1) and 4(2). Acquitted.
  • Charge 3: Confinement as a Crime Against Humanity for his role in the confinement and torture of Ranji Nath, alias Babu Nath. Found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for five years.
  • Charge 4: Abetting the crime of Confinement and causing Inhumane Acts as Crimes against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a)(g) for his alleged involvement in the abduction and torture of Abu Yusuf. Acquitted.
  • Charge 5: Abetting murder as a Crime Against Humanity for ordering the killing of detainees at the army camp at old MP Hostel, Nakhalpara, Dhaka. Found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for life.
  • Charge 6: Abetting murder as a Crime Against Humanity, or in the alternative, abetting Genocide against the intellectual group. Charged under Section 3(2)(c)(g) read with Sections 4(1) and 4(2). Found guilty and sentenced to death in conjunction with Charge 7.
  • Charge 7: Participating in and Facilitating the commission of Murder as a Crime Against Humanity, or in the alternative, for persecution as a Crime Against Humanity, for his roll in an attack on the Hindu community on 13 May 1971. Found guilty and sentenced to death in conjunction with Charge 6.

The Tribunal noted that it considered Mujahid’s “superior position of authority on the Al-Badar force together with the intrinsic gravity and degree and pattern of criminal acts” as aggravating factors that further justified the death sentence.

The full judgment can be found here: Mujahid Judgment

Additionally, we will be publishing our full summary of the case and the Tribunal’s conclusions in the near future. Please check back frequently for updates. 

15 July 2013: Gholam Azam Found Guilty – Sentenced to 90 years

Today Tribunal 1 issued its second verdict in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. It is the second verdict issued by Tribunal 1 and the fifth verdict issued by the International Crimes Tribunal. The Tribunal found Gholam Azam guilty of all five charges against him.

The Charges and the Verdict:

  • Charge 1: Six Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 2: Three Counts of Planning to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 3: Twenty-eight counts of Incitement to Commit Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 4: Twenty-tree counts of Complicity in Crimes under Section 3(2) of the ICT Act. Found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
  • Charge 5: Murder and Torture as Crimes against Humanity under Section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act. The Charge alleged that Gholam Azam directed Peyara Miah, a member of the Peace Committee, to kill Siru Mia and his son because they were freedom fighters. Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

The Tribunal noted that it took Gholam Azam’s age (he is 91 years old) and ill health into account when determining his sentencing. They stated that he would serve the terms of imprisonment consecutively, guaranteeing that he will die in jail.

Charges 1-4 alleged that Gholam Azam was liable either under Section 4(1), which provides for a form of constructive liability (where, when a crime is committed by several persons, each will be liable as if he was the sole perpetrator), and Section 4(2), which provides for liability under the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. Charge 5 alleged direct individual responsibility for murder and torture, and does not mention any of the forms of liability enumerated under Section 4 of the Act.

From comments made during the Tribunal’s announcement of its verdict, it appears that for Charges 1-4 Gholam Azam was found guilty on the basis of Command Responsibility. The Prosecution had argued that Gholam Azam, as the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, controlled the organizational framework of Islami Chatra Sangha and played the pivotal role in forming the Shanti (Peace) Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams. Therefore they claimed that he was liable for all of the crimes committed by the members of those groups. They further alleged that Gholam Azam exercised Command Responsibility over the members of the Shanti (Peace) Committee, Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams, and that, even though he was a civilian, Gholam Azam had influence over the Pakistani Army. The Defense disagreed that Section 4(2) could be applied to Gholam Azam because he was a civilian and they claimed that the Doctrine of Command Responsibility is applicable only to leaders of military and auxiliary forces.

For a detailed discussion of the Gholam Azam case and the evidence presented by both parties please refer to our Special Report: Special Issue No. 3 – Gholam Azam Case Summary

Additionally, we will be posting the judgment here on our website once we receive the official copy from the court. We will also publish summary of the Tribunal’s legal conclusions once we have reviewed the Judgment in full.