Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam – Defense Application and Closing Arguments
Today Defense counsel for Gholam Azam filed an application seeking the recall of yesterday’s order, citing the interest of justice. Yesterday, 2 April 2013, the Tribunal passed an order directing the Defense to conclude their Closing Arguments by 4 April 2013. The Defense argued that compelling them to conclude their Closing Arguments would seriously prejudice the Accused because they would be unable to adequately present the case.
The Defense requested an additional four days instead of the two currently allotted. Senior Defense counsel stated that he cannot make himself available on hartal days. He noted that the other courts of the country, from the magistrate level to the Supreme Court, do not convene on hartal days. Razzaq further stated that though he is supporter of a political party, he appears before the Tribunal solely as an advocate and has refrained from making any political statements over the last 3-4 years.
After making his submissions Tribunal 2 granted Razzaq permission to leave in order to appear before Tribunal 2.
Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the prayer and submitted that the application should be rejected summarily.
Defense Closing Arguments
Defense counsel Imran Siddiq continued the submission of Closing Arguments on behalf of Gholam Azam. He argued regarding the legal requirements of the charge of conspiracy, planning and incitement.
Conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity
Imran Siddiq submitted that section 3(2)(a) of the ICT Act of 1973 does not describe the elements of the crime which the Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. Given the silence of the Statute on this matter, it is therefore necessary to look to Customary International Law in order to assess whether the Prosecution has sufficiently proved its case.
Imran stated that in order to convict the Accused of conspiracy to commit Crimes Against Humanity, the Prosecution must prove that i) there was an attack ii) the attack was widespread or systematic iii) the attack was directed against a civilian population iv) the attack was committed on national, political, ethical, racial or religious grounds and v) Gholam Azam acted with the knowledge of the attack. He cited to the ICTR case of Ntagerura (Trial Chamber), 25 February 2004, para 698.