Tag Archives: Gholam Azam

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

Weekly Digest 10: March 24-28

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

The Tribunal was in recess on 26 March 2013 in honor of Bangladesh’s independence day. Additionally, opposition parties declared hartals on the 27th and 28th of March. Therefore our coverage of those days is gathered from media sources as well as discussions with the Defense and Prosecution. Our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days due to security concerns.

Tribunal 1:
Proceedings in Tribunal 1 continued to center on the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case this week, with counsel completing their submissions regarding factual issues and Charge 5. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present arguments on legal issues and Charges 1-4 next week. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witnesses 22 and 23. Additionally, The Tribunal heard Chowdhury’s Defense application for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2:
Tribunal 2 dealt with two cases this week. In the Kamaruzzaman case, Defense witness 5 completed providing testimony, and the Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The Tribunal also heard testimony from Prosecution witness 17, the Investigating Officer, in the Mujahid case.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 10 – March 24-28

17 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Closing Arguments, Prosecution’s Reply

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury: Request for Adjournment
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs, Gholam Azam: Prosecution’s Reply to Defense Closing Arguments, Defense Rebuttal

Because today was fixed for the Prosecution’s reply in the Gholam Azam case, Ahsanul Huq Hena, Defense counsel for Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, requested adjournment of the Chowdhury case until 21 April 2013. The Tribunal adjourned the proceedings for the day and scheduled the case to be heard tomorrow, 18 April 2013.

Today in the Gholam Azam case the Tribunal heard the Prosecution’s reply to the Defense’s Closing Arguments. Prosecutors Sultan Mahmud Simon, Turin Afroz and Haider Ali submitted arguments. After the completion of Prosecution’s submissions the Defense was given 25 minutes for their rebuttal. After hearing both sides the Tribunal officially took the case under consideration awaiting verdict.

Prosecution’s Reply
Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon began by arguing that counsel for the Accused had presented only one theory of defense, being that Gholam Azam had supported Pakistan during the Liberation War with the purpose of maintaining the unity of Pakistan. Simon questioned whether such support could be considered lawful after Bangladesh’s declaration of independence on 26 March 1971. The Prosecution submitted that the Tribunal must consider the entirety of the case against Gholam Azam in light of the historical events of 1971. He submitted that Prosecution proved each element of the alleged crimes through sufficient oral and documentary evidence. The Prosecution also asserted that paragraph 6 of the Formal Charge discussed the Doctrine of Superior Responsibility. Prosecutor Simon read out sections 9, 10, 16 and 19 of the ICT Act of 1973 and talked about judicial notice.

The Tribunal Chairman asked whether the Prosecution had exhibited the documents (including some reports published in international media regarding the atrocities committed in Bangladesh in 1971) referred to in the Formal Dharge. The Prosecution replied that seven books had been submitted and that the Tribunal had been asked to take them under judicial notice. The Defense dissented and claimed that the Prosecution did not exhibit the documents that the Tribunal is specifically requesting.

The Prosecution argued that Gholam Azam supported Pakistan despite being aware of the atrocities committed by the Pakistani army on 25 March 1971. Prosecutor Simon referred to ‘Jibone Ja Dekhalm’ (Exhibit-H) and also submitted that the atrocities committed by the Pakistani occupation forces were known internationally at the time. The Prosecution claimed that the Defense failed to produce a single document showing that Gholam Azam criticized the atrocities committed by the Pakistani occupation forces. Prosecutor Simon claimed that this proves Gholam Azam’s involvement in and support for the atrocities.  Continue reading

15 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Conclusion of Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

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

On April 15, 2013 the Defense for Gholam Azam concluded their Closing Arguments. Imran Siddiq presented the Defense’s arguments based on complicity. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq presented arguments on the Doctrine of Command Responsibility. The Defense then summarized the Charges against Gholam Azam before the Tribunal. After the completion of the Defense’s case the Tribunal asked the Prosecution to submit their reply. The Prosecution requested one day for preparation of their response. The Tribunal accepted the request and adjourned the proceedings until 17 April 2013.

After the lunch break the Tribunal turned to the Nizami case. Prosecutor Mir Iqbal informed the Tribunal that Prosecution witness 4 had been present in the morning but was now feeling sick and could not testify. The Tribunal therefore adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, 16 April 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Complicity
Count 13 Charge No 4
The Defense submitted that the Prosecution failed to prove that Gholam Azam’s press briefing substantially contributed to the commission of Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Prosecution has failed to adduce evidence in the form of witnesses or documents to establish that identified members of the Pakistan Army and/or its auxiliary forces had heard or read Gholam Azam’s statement prior to committing Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. The Defense referred to the testimony of the Investigation Officer and submitted that during cross-examination the witness admitted that he not say whether any person had committed atrocities upon hearing or reading Gholam Azam’s statements and speeches.

Count 14, Charge 4
The Prosecution has based Count 14 of Charge 4 on Exhibits 48 and 122  which quote Gholam Azam as saying the damage that was caused by the separatists cannot be remedied merely by chanting slogans. He also alleged that there were those who were colluding with India and involved in arson, looting and violence throughout the country because they wanted an independent East Pakistan. Gholam Azam alleged that in order to assist the separatists and the banned Awami League, India was smuggling infiltrators and arms into the country. Gholam Azam also praised the Pakistani Army for their role in preserving the unity of Pakistan.

The Defense argued that no where in these reports is there proof that Gholam Azam expressed support for the criminal activities of the Pakistani army, nor is there any proof that he urged the members of Jamaat or others to engage in repressive and criminal activities. The Defense further submitted that Gholam Azam’s statement that chanting of slogans would not be enough to redress the damage caused by the separatists does not amount to urging members of Jamaat to commit Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity as alleged in the Charge Framing Order. Continue reading

11 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Mubarak Hossain Investigation, Gholam Azam Adjournment

Due to an ongoing nation-wide  hartal our researchers were unable to attend proceedings today. The following summary is compiled from media sources and conversations with the Defense and Prosecution.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Mubarak Hossain
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam

Today Ahsanul Huq Hena, senior Defence counsel for Mubarak Hossain, submitted the Defense’s request for the discharge of his client from the case. The Defense also requsted bail. Prosecutor Zahed Imam opposed the bail prayer. After hearing both sides the Tribunal scheduled 23 April for the passing of its order.

In the Gholam Azam case the Defense requested an adjournment until Monday, 15 April, because senior Defence counsel Abdur Razzaq was unable to attend due to “personal difficulty.” Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon opposed the prayer. The Tribunal passed an order scheduling 15 April for the Defense’s Closing Arguments. The order stated that further requests for time extensions would not be allowed under any circumstances.

7 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 the Defense continued their Closing Arguments, addressing Charge 3 for incitement and Charge 4 for complicity.

After the lunch break Senior Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak requested an additional working day in order to complete the Defense’s summing up. By mentioning “working day,” the Defense implied a non-hartal day. This week hartals have been called for Monday through Thursday.  The Defense does not attend the Tribunal during hartal days.

Charge 3:
Incitement to Commit Genocide
The Defense addressed each count of incitement contained within Charge 3. First, the Defense argued that none of Gholam Azam’s statements were designed to instigate or prompt others to attack or destroy members of any national, religious, ethnic or racial group. Considering the context of censorship surrounding news reports, the testimony of both Prosecution and Defense witnesses and submitted Exhibits, it is clear that none of  Gholam Azam’s statements, when interpreted according to their plain and ordinary meaning, were directed against members of the Hindu community, the Bengali civilian population or supporters of the Awami League. Secondly, the Defense argued that the Charge Framing Order does not adequately specify how Gholam Azam prompted, provoked or instigated criminal action, nor has the Prosecution brought any evidence on record to show that an identified perpetrator was so instigated, prompted or provoked. Thirdly, the Prosecution has made no attempt to establish that Gholam Azam had the required intention to destroy Hindus, members of the Awami League or the Bengali civilian population. Similarly, the Prosecution failed to prove that through his statements Gholam Azam intended to create genocidal intent amongst members his audience. Therefore the Defense stated that the Prosecution did not prove essential elements of the alleged crime.

Continue reading

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.

Censorship
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