Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman – Defense Closing Arguments
The Defense began its presentation of Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman case. Counsel addressed details pertaining to Charge 1 and the allegations of Kamaruzzaman’s involvement in the torture and killing of Bodiuzzaman. The Defense identified and outlined the substantial contradictions between the testimonies of Prosecution witnesses 4 and 6, both of whom provided hearsay evidence. Additionally the Defense highlighted inconsistencies between each witness’ courtroom testimony and their previous statements to the Investigation Officer. The Defense argued that in order for hearsay evidence to be viewed as credible and reliable it should be consistent and supported by circumstantial evidence. The contradictions and inconsistencies in the Prosecution’s case for Charge 1 give rise to substantial doubt as to the guilt of the Accused.
Abdur Razzaq, the senior Defense counsel for the Accused, also addressed legal questions arising from the Prosecution’s case including admissibility and probative value of hearsay evidence in the absence of corroborative evidence, whether the statement of one hearsay witness can satisfactorily corroborate another, and whether corroboration is required. In the course of their submissions the Defense referred to and analysed judicial precedents from the ICTY and the ICTR and rebutted arguments made by Prosecutor Tureen Afroz on 31 March 2013. The Defense also referred to the text Archbold: International Criminal Courts Practice, Procedure and Evidence and some domestic cases.
The Defense stated that their final arguments would take a total of four days. They requested that the court accommodate their proposed timeline.
Evidentiary and Factual Arguments
The first Charge against Kamaruzzaman pertains to the killing of Badiuzzaman. The charge is supported only by the testimony of Prosecution witnesses 4, Fakir Abdul Mannan, and 6, Dr Md Hasanuzzaman, both of whom are hearsay witnesses. The Defense argued that there are fundamental discrepancies between the two witnesses’ testimonies and the findings of the Investigation Officer. The Defense stated that these discrepancies and inconsistencies go to the very root of the Prosecution’s case. The testimony of these witnesses has been used to establish the Prosecution’s allegations about the purpose of Badiuzzaman’s visit to Ahammed Member’s House at Badiu where he was abducted, the presence of Pakistan Army at the time of abduction, Ahammed Member’s position during the Liberation War, the mode of Badiuzzaman’s arrest, and the identification of Kamaruzzaman.