Tag Archives: command responsibility

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.

Special Report Issue #3: Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam Case Summary

This special report provides a detailed overview of the factual and legal arguments presented by the Prosecution and Defense in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. Arguments in the case were completed on 17 April 2013 and the case is currently awaiting verdict from Tribunal 1. We have reported on the documentary and witness evidence used to support each count within each distinct charge, as well as the general arguments made by both parties. Once the Tribunal issues its verdict, we will publish a supplementary report regarding the legal conclusions made in the Judgment.

For the full report please go here: Special Issue No. 3 – Gholam Azam Case Summary

3 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid

Today the Defense continued their closing arguments in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid. They completed their arguments regarding the requirement of effective control by the Accused in order establish liability under Command Responsibility. They also emphasized doubt pertaining to particular charges due to inconsistent witness testimony. The Defense argued that the required mens rea, or mental state, has not been proven in the instant case. Finally the Defense submitted arguments regarding the Doctrine of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) under international law.  Continue reading

2 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings vs. Selim Uddin  and others                                                     
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: Defense  Closing Arguments

Tribunal-2 heard contempt proceedings against Selim Uddin and his fellow Jamaat-e-Islam leaders Hamidur Rahman Azad MP and Rafiqul Islam Khan. Selim Uddin, through his lawyer Tajul Islam, provided an unconditional apology to the Tribunal for his derogatory remarks and did not attempt to justify them. Defense counsel Tajul Islam submitted that Selim Uddin did not intend to disrespect the Tribunal. After hearing the apology the Tribunal fixed 9 June 2013 for passing their final order. The two other contemnors Rafiqul and Hamidur again failed to appear before the Tribunal or to submit any explanation of their comments through legal counsel.

After lunch, Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq resumed his Closing Arguments on behalf of Ali Ahsan Mujahid. The Defense discussed the various legal aspects of case along with some of the evidentiary matters regarding the alleged leadership position held by the Accused within Al-Badr, which is a key factual matter in the charges against him. The Defense additionally addressed the following:

  1. Probative value of the documentary evidences.
  2. Defective charges and the lack of specific allegation therein.
  3. Section 4(2) of the 1973 Act and imposing liability for superior / command responsibility. Continue reading

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