Tag Archives: Gholam Azam

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

22 August 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Abdus Sobhan Pre Trial Proceedings, Contempt Proceedings against Human Rights Watch

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial Proceedings against Abdus Sobhan
  2. Contempt Proceedings against Human Rights Watch

On 19 August 2013, Prosecution in the case against Abdus Sobhan filed an application requesting permission to interrogate the suspect in the safe home under Rule 16(1) of the Rules of Procedure. The Defense submitted a written objection against the application. Today the Tribunal heard arguments from both sides regarding the application. The Prosecution submitted that the investigation is in its final stage but asserted that for proper and effective investigation the Investigation Officer is required to interrogate the accused. The Prosecution further argued that for total verification, interrogation in the safe house is necessary.

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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

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.

14 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Verdict Tomorrow, Abdus Sobhan Investigation Report, Mobarak Hossain PW 6

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Abdus Sobhan
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Mobarak Hossain
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

In the investigation of Abdus Sobhan the Prosecution submitted a progress report and requested additional time. The Tribunal granted the request and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 19 August 2013.

In the Mobarak Hossain case, the Tribunal heard the examination-in-chief of Abdul Malek, Prosecution Witness 6, who testified in support of charge 5. Thereafter, Defense Counsel sought time saying that Defense were not informed about the witness earlier. The Tribunal granted the request and the adjourned proceedings in the case until 16 July 2013.

Today, 14 July 2013, the Gholam Azam case was included in the cause list as item 4. The Tribunal passed an order stating that the judgment of this case has been prepared and will be issued tomorrow, 15 July 2013. Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak informed the Tribunal that Gholam Azam is ill and requested permission for him to remain at the hospital tomorrow where he has received treatment throughout his detention. The Tribunal refused the request, stating that it is the right of the Accused to hear the judgment against him.

4 July 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – AKM Yusuf Scheduled Hearing of Charges, Abdul Alim Cross-Examination of PW 11

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-trial stages against AKM Yusuf
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

In the pre-trial proceedings against AKM Yusuf the Tribunal passed an order stating that it would begin hearing the charges against the accused. Defense counsel Tajul Islam informed the Tribunal that they had only just received the AKM Yusuf’s brief and requesting additional time to prepare upon receiving client instruction. The Tribunal then scheduled the Charge Hearing for 14 July 2013.  AKM Yusuf, a Jamaat-e-Islami political leader, was arrested on 12 May 2013. Tribunal 1 initially took cognizance of the allegations against Yusuf, and the case was then transferred to Tribunal 2.

The Tribunal then turned to the Alim case where they allowed the Defense to recall Prosecution witness 11 for cross-examination. The initial examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 11 was conducted in the absence of Defense counsel. The Defense had requested an adjournment on several occasions (17, 25, and 27 February 2013) due to the inability of the defense counsel to attend the court proceedings for miscellaneous reasons. The Tribunal denied these applications and allowed the examination-in-chief of the witness to take place without Defense presence. The witness has been recalled based on a defense application arguing that recalling the witness was necessary for the interest of justice.

Abdul Alim Prosecution Witness 11 Cross-Examination
The Defense’s cross-examination aimed at undermining the reliability of the evidence and the credibility of the witness. In particular, they implied that the witness could not have identified Alim as being connected with the alleged charges and that he did not know Alim during the war. They alleged that the witness was not even in Bangladesh. 

The witness stated that he has 3 brothers and 4 sisters and they all lived together in the same house in 1971. He does not know when the Pakistani Army invaded Jaipurhat. He stated that he did not go to Jaipurhat Sadar road during the 1971 war and also never went to Alim’s house before or during war or  during the war. He stated that he was unable to remember when the Pakistani Army first entered in Khetlal area and could not say if there was an Army Brigade headquarters in Khetlal. The witness further stated that he does not know how many army camps were there but heard that there was one army camp, though he could not say where it was located. 

The Defense asked the witness how many members there were in the Jaipurhat Peace Committee or who its secretary was at that time. He said that probably someone named Abdul Sardar was the Chairman of Khetlal Peace Committee, but he could not name the the Secretary. He said he did not know how many members were in the Jaipurhat Peace Committee. The witness stated that the house of Saidur Rahman, who he had referred to in his previous testimony, is located in Mandal Para about 300 yards south-west of the witness’ house. He testified that he did visit Saidur Rahman’s house before the war of liberation. The witness testified that Saidur Rahman had 4 brothers and 1 sister and his father is the late Esharat Ullah Mandal.

The witness stated that he studied at Kalai Moinuddin High School, whose Principal was Qazi Talibur Rahman. His confirmed his date of birth (as it appears on his SSC certificate) as 1 July 1955. He said he was not a voter during the 1970 General Election. The witness acknowledged that he did not file a case regarding the murder of his family but said he was not sure whether anyone else from his family filed a case. The Defense noted that the late Badol’s brother, Biswanath Dev, filed a case against 6 persons in 1972. They suggested that the witness was intentionally pretending not to know about this case because Abdul Alim is not accused in that case. The witness denied the suggestion.

The witness then stated that he was not present during the meeting between Alim, other Peace Committee members and Major Afzal. He claimed that he did not know whether there were news reports about the meeting.

The witness said he did not show to the Investigation Officer the bush where the alleged incident took place. He described the area around his house. He stated the distance between his house and Hazunza Har is about 2 to 2.5 km. There are two villages in between, Harunza Hat to Khetlal is 3 to 4 Km of distance. There is a mosque in the South-West of the witness’s house after which there lies a Hindu village. 

The witness acknowledged that he does not have any documentary evidence to show that Alim was the Chairman of local Peace Committee or a Rajakar member, but he reiterated that he had heard that Alim held those positions. He denied that Abbas Ali Khan was the actual Chairman. The witness said that he does not know whether the Razakars had a uniform or dress code. He denied the Defense’s suggestion that there was no bush near his house in 1971 and that he was not actually in Bangladesh at the time. He said that he does not know about any village named Turipara near Alim’s house.

The Defense alleged that the witness is providing fabricated evidence before the Tribunal at the instruction of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council. The judges objected and stated that this suggestion would not be recorded as it is aggravating towards religious groups. The Defense also alleged that Alim was in hiding during the war.

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