Tag Archives: conspiracy

Special Report: Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam Verdict and Legal Findings

This special report provides a detailed overview of the factual and legal findings of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) Judgment in Chief Prosecutor vs. Professor Gholam Azam. Gholam Azam was found guilty on all five charges and sentenced to 90 years imprisonment. The Tribunal made a point of noting that he deserved the death penalty, but because of his age and illness, they saw fit to sentence him to life imprisonment instead. Arguments in the case were completed on 17 April 2013 and the verdict was issued on 15 July 2013. It was the second verdict to be issued by Tribunal 1, and the fifth verdict issued by the ICT. Our previous special report on the Gholam Azam case reported in detail on the documentary and testimonial evidence used to support each count within each distinct charge against the Defendant, as well as the general arguments made by both parties. This report focuses on the legal outcomes of the case.

The full report is available here:Special Issue No. 5 – Gholam Azam Case Verdict

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.

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

4 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam: Defense Closing Arguments

Today Defense counsel Imran Siddiq continued presenting the Defense’s Closing Arguments. He added some additional arguments regarding the impact of censorship on the reliability of documentary evidence and then addressed Charge 3 which is for Incitement to commit crimes under section 3(2) of the ICT act of 1973.

The Defense added some points to the arguments they submitted regarding censorship on 3 April. Imran submitted that a conviction cannot be solely based on newspaper reports where the newspaper reports have not been collaborated. The Defense submitted that it is evident from Exhibit-EK that the Chief Martial Law Administrator imposed restrictions on newspapers through the Martial Law Regulation no 77, prohibiting printing or publishing any news which is calculated to prejudicially affect the integrity or solidarity of Pakistan. The Defense argued that Prosecution Exhibit 3, a news report published in the daily Shangram 19 June 1971, shows that Gholam Azam called for the withdrawal of censorship restrictions. Imran also noted that Defense witness 1 testified that during 1971 the Martial Law Authority imposed censorship on mass media by official notification. The Defense pointed to pages 62 and 84 of the book Muktijuddho: Bibhinno Dristikon Theke, by Sadruddin, stated that due to censorship news received from East Pakistan was very limited and unreliable. The Defense further noted that the book Ami Mujib Bolsi, by Krtittibas Ojha, states that censorship was imposed on newspapers, radio and television were not allowed to publish without prior permission regarding the contents from the relevant authority. Continue reading

3 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. 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.

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1 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami –cross-examination of PW 3
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury – examination of PW 24
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam –Defense Closing Arguments

Defense Counsel for  Motiur Rahman Nizami concluded their cross-examination of Prosecution witness- 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. The Tribunal scheduled the next hearing of the case for 15 April 2013.  In the case against Salauddin Qader Chowdhury the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 24, Babul Chakraborty. Thereafter, Defense counsel cross-examined the witness. After the completion of the cross-examination the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings in the Chowdhury case until 4 April 2013.  In the afternoon the Tribunal heard Abdur Razzaq, senior Defense counsel for Gholam Azam, present the Defense’s Closing Arguments based on Charge 1 for conspiracy. The Tribunal then adjourned the Gholam Azam case until tomorrow, 2 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Nizami
Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 3
The Defense cross-examined Rustom Ali Mollah, Prosecution witness 3. The witness testified that Tarek Khan Mojlish was 7 to 8 years younger than him. He said that Zohir Uddin Jalal is also younger than him but he could not specify by how many years. Rustom testified that he crossed the Bosila river by himself, on his way to Vayaspur and Rampur. He traveled alone and met Zohir Uddin Jalal, a freedom fighter who went by the name Jalal. The witness said that he did not meet with any other freedom fighters before meeting with Jalal. Additionally, he claimed that he did not meet any other freedom fighters during the war. He testified that he continues to live in the same house that he occupied during the Liberation War.

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31 March 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

The Tribunal began its proceedings at 12:00 pm today. In the case against Motiur Rahman Nizami the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. After the lunch break Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzaq presented the Defense’s Closing Arguments regarding legal issues and Charge 1.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 3
The Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 3, Rustom Ali Mollah. He testified that his father Rohom Ali retired in 1986. He did not know when his father began his job. Rustom testified that he did not complete primary school. He could not remember whether he went to the New Eskaton circuit house in 1971 or not. Rustom testified that he went to the recourse field on 7 March 1971 to hear the speech of Sheikh Mujib Rahman. He said that he does not know who the leader of Awami League or Chhatra League (student wing of Awami League) in Mohammadpur area was in 1971. He said that during the election of 1970 he was in Dhaka with his father. He testified that he did not know who won the Mohammadpur area elections in 1970. He claimed that in 1971 Khan Mojlish was the principal of the Physical Institute. He testified that now his son Tarek Khan Mojlish is the principal of this institute. Rustom denied that Tarek Khan Mojlish is older than him. The witness acknowledged that his father no longer lives with him and that he lives Rustom Ali’s sons from his first wife. He said that his first wife died. He could not specify the year when Tarek Khan Mojlish became the principal of the Physical Institute. He said that in 1971 the length of a course at the Mohammadpur Physical Training institute was 10 months and now the length of this course is 1 year. He did not know which subjects were taught in this course but said that it is basically a training center to teach gym teachers.

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