Tag Archives: Life Imprisonment

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.

Weekly Digest: Issue 3 – February 3-7 2013

This week was dominated by the second Judgment of the ICT, issued by Tribunal 2 in the case of Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Qader Molla. The Judgment was issued on February 5th. The Accused was found guilty of 5 of 6 charges, all counts of crimes against humanity. Closing arguments in the case were completed on January 17, 2012. The Judgment was issued less than three weeks after the close of the case. Qader Molla was sentenced to life imprisonment. This report contains detailed analysis of the verdict and the factual and legal conclusions contained within it.

Tribunal 1 heard matters in the Gholam Azam, Nizami, and Chowdhury cases as well as a request from The Economist for additional time to respond to contempt proceedings related to its publication of the alleged Skype and email conversations between the former Chairman and expatriate Bangladeshi lawyer, Ahmed Ziauddin. In addition to issuing the Qader Molla Judgment, Tribunal 2 also dealt with ongoing contempt proceedings against Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and BNP leader MK Anwar, and issued an Order to Jamaat to explain comments made by its Central Executive member and Assistant Secretary General of Dhaka or face contempt.

Read the full weekly report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 3 – Feb 3-7