Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:
Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami
In the case of Motiur Rahman Nizami, the Defense placed their submission for the 3rd day. The Defense show the Tribunal inconsistencies found between testimonies of different prosecution witnesses. The Defense made submissions on charge numbers 2, 4, 6, 11, 12, 13 and 14. Thereafter, the Defense prayed for another day and the Tribunal adjourned the proceedings of the case until tomorrow, 19 December 2013. Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.
Hartals again interrupted our coverage of the ICT trials. Sunday, 17 March 2013, was a national holiday, and the Tribunal was in recess. Hartals (strikes) were called by the opposition party coalition on Monday and Tuesday, and due to security concerns our researchers were unable to attend. Therefore, our summaries for those days are drawn from media sources as well as conversations with the Defense and Prosecution. On Thursday, both Tribunal 1 and Tribunal 2 adjourned early, after it was announced that the President of Bangladesh had passed away on Wednesday.
Tribunal 1 In Tribunal 1, the Defense and the Prosecution in the Gholam Azam case presented in-depth arguments regarding the applicability of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility to civilians. In theSalauddin Qader Chowdhury case, the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witness 21, who began providing testimony the previous week. The Defense for Sayedee presented two additional applications: one for bail, and the other or certified copies of documents from two criminal cases in the district court system. The Tribunal also heard the examination of Prosecution witness 3 in the Nizami case. Finally, citing the growing insecurity in Dhaka, Defense counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury applied for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.
Tribunal 2 Tribunal 2 also experienced significant delays due to hartals, absence of counsel, and illness of witnesses. The court heard the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 13 in the Abdul Alim case and granted an extension for the production of a Defense witness in the Kamaruzzaman case. Additionally, the Tribunal dealt with ongoing contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders.
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 →
Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam
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 →