Tag Archives: judicial independence

19 May 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Contempt Charge Dismissed against Ziauddin

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings Against Ahmed Ziauddin

Today Tribunal 2 passed an order in the contempt proceedings against Ahmed Ziauddin, disposing off the matter but making an official observation. The contempt proceedings were initiated suo moto by the Tribunal on 3 January 2013, following the leakage of Skype conversations between the former Chairman of Tribunal 1 and Ziauddin, a Brussels based legal expert and pro-trial activist. News of the Skype controversy was first reported by The Economist. The Tribunal brought charges of contempt against The Economist, which are still pending. The complete conversations were then printed by the local Daily Amar Desh, which has been shut down by the government following the arrest of its chief editor Mr Mahmudur Rahman on charges related to the Skype controversy. The Tribunal took the contents of the conversation into judicial notice during the hearing of a defense application praying for a retrial in the interest of justice. All applications for retrial were rejected. However, in that ruling the Tribunal noted that if the comments allegedly made by Ziauddin were authentic, they cast the International Crimes Tribunal in negative light by making it look like it lacked independence and was a dictated body. The Tribunal was also critical about Ziauddin’s alleged comments regarding Judge Shahinur Islam, a judge of Tribunal-2, and termed the same as completely unacceptable.

Upon the request of the Tribunal Mr Ahmed Ziauddin submitted his written explanation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  after about four and a half months. Today the Tribunal disposed off the contempt proceedings and decided that they would not proceed with them any further. The Tribunal stated that the truthfulness of the leaked conversations cannot be determined and also noted that Ziauddin neither admitted nor denied the allegations. Nevertheless, the Tribunal observed that it would be unjust to arrive at a decision in regards the authenticity of the Skype documents based on evidence which in itself has been obtained illegally through hacking. The contempt matter against the Brussels based expert has thus been closed and the judges stated in its judgment that it merited no further steps.

The court then adjourned for the day.

24 Jan 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings MK Anwar

Today the Tribunal was scheduled to hear matters in the following case:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: examination-in-chief of prosecution witness (Accused was Present

However, the court first accepted the Prosecution’s submissions for contempt proceedings to be issued against MK Anwar, a political leader of the BNP Party (an opposition party.)

In accordance with the Court’s verbal instructions on 23 January 2013, the Prosecution submitted a written application in regards to a statement made by MK Anwar seeking contempt proceedings to be issued against him. On 20 January 2013 MK Anwar, a day before ICT-2’s first verdict was issued, commented in his speech marking the 77th birth anniversary of late president Ziaur Rahman that the government is staging the ongoing trials as a mechanism of vengeance against the leaders of opposition parties. Mr Rana Das Gupta, the Prosecution counsel, reiterated  that the BNP leader’s comment is a malicious one, aimed to jeopardize the confidence of the masses as to the neutrality, independence and fairness of the tribunal. The prosecutor submitted that unless some sort of action is initiated against him, he is likely to continue to make such comments. He noted that MK Anwar had previously made similar comments, for which he was warned by Tribunal-1.

The Prosecution advocated for punishment of MK Anwar under section 11(4) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, which accords the tribunal the authority to punish any person who obstructs or abuses its process or disobeys any of its orders or directions, or does anything which tends to prejudice the case of a party before it, or tends to bring it or any of its members into hatred or contempt, or does anything which constitutes contempt of the Tribunal. The Tribunal upon hearing the learned prosecutor retired till lunch to pass an order.

After lunch, the Tribunal pronounced its order requiring MK Anwar to submit an explanation through his lawyers within 7 days. They opined that such comments pertain to subjudice matters, or matters currently under consideration by the Tribunal, and therefore may adversely influence the public perception about the ICT. The Tribunal further observed that the independent judiciary shall be kept segregated from politics in the interest of upholding the rule of law. MK Anwar shall be obliged to submit his explanation no later than 3 February 2013.

It may be noted that Mr Suranjit Sen Gupta, the ruling party’s influential policy maker is also facing contempt proceedings akin to that now faced by Anwar, for previously making comments on sub-judice matters.

Tribunal-2 did not hear the examination-in-chief of the prosecution witness in Ali Ahsan Mujahid’s case and adjourned for the day.