Tag Archives: limitation of defense witnesses

23 July 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Defense Applications

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

The Tribunal was scheduled to hear the examination-in-chief of Defense Witness 4. However, the Defense filed two applications, one for adjournment in order to produce Defense witnesses 4 & 5, and another requesting the Tribunal to accept an affidavit from the mother of Shamim Hasnain (one of the 5 proposed Defense witnesses) into evidence.

The Defense submitted that Shamim Hasnain is willing to depose. Shamim Hasnain is a judge of the High Court and has requested leave from his institution to testify before the Tribunal. He and the Defense are awaiting for the Chief Justice’s approval. In light of the pending request, the Defense requested adjournment of the case until 28 July.

The Defense additionally informed the Tribunal that Salman F Rahman, one of the 5 proposed Defense witnesses, has fallen sick while traveling to Mecca. They submitted that he would be available after Ramadan to provide testimony before the Tribunal and requested that his testimony be scheduled accordingly. The Prosecution opposed the prayer saying that the application is being filed in order to delay the proceedings of the Tribunal. The Tribunal passed an order stating that the application for adjournment was is supported by any evidence and that the Tribuna would give a last chance for the production of the Defense witness by fixing 24 July as the deadline to produce Defense witnesses 4 and 5.

Regarding the second application, the Defense submitted that the mother of Shamim Hasnain has provided a worn affidavit regarding Salauddin Qader Chowdhury’s alibi that he was in Pakistan in 1971. The Prosecution opposed the application saying that in this stage of Trial there is no scope to file any affidavit before the Tribunal. After hearing both the sides, Tribunal rejected the application stating that Shamim Hasnain is one of the proposed Defense witness and likely to depose before the Tribunal.

24 June 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Testimony and Defense Applications

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

Today in the Chowdhury case the Tribunal heard three petitions filed by Defense. The first petition requested review of the June 13th order limiting the Defense to 5 witnesses. The second requested adjournment of the case until the terms of reference are disposed off in the Abdul Qader Mollah case at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The third application requested that Serial No. 31 of the seizure list be designated as illegal. After hearing arguments from both parties the Tribunal fixed 26 June for passing its order. Thereafter, Tribunal heard the testimony of Defendant Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, Defense witness 1, for the sixth day and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 26 June 2013. Continue reading

13 June 2013 ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Cross Examination PW 41, Abdus Sobhan Pre-Trial

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury
  2. Investigation of Abdus Sobhan

In the Chowdhury case, the Defense concluded the cross-examination of Investigation Officer Md Nurul Islam, Prosecution witness 41. The Tribunal also heard an application submitted by Prosecution requesting the Tribunal to reject the Defense’s list of 1153 witnesses. The Prosecution argued that the list did not comply with Rule 51A (1) and did not specify the particulars of which witnesses would testify as to which charges, or on which points the Defense intended to examine the witness. The Prosecution also argued that list repeated the name of certain witnesses. The Defense countered that the list is short considering the political career of the Accused. They stated that while some names are similar, they are not repetitions.

The Tribunal verbally granted the Prosecution’s application with modification. They limited the Defense to 5 witnesses. The Defense objected, stating that there are 23 charges against the accused and that 41 prosecution witnesses testified against CHowdhury. They argued that being limited to 5 witnesses would prejudice their case. The Tribunal did not respond to their objection.The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings of the case until Monday, 17 July 2013, even if, Defense prayed for more time.

In the ongoing investigation of Abdus Sobhan, the Prosecution submitted their progress report and sought additional time. Tribunal allowed the prayer and adjourned the proceedings of the case until 14 July 2013.  Continue reading

21 March 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings against Jamaat Leaders, Adjournment for Kamaruzzaman

21 March 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings vs. Selim Uddin and Other Jamaat Leaders
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali started the day’s submission expressing his deep sadness at the death of President Zillur Rahman, the Honorable President of Bangladesh. Stating that the country mourns at his departure, the prosecutor proposed that the court observes two minutes of silence in his honor. In response, the judges expressed their sadness and commented that all present in the courtroom mourn with the nation. However, they said that as an independent entity of the judiciary, it is not possible for them to observe the silence without some steps or instruction coming from the Honorable Chief Justice.

The court then called the contempt proceedings against Mr Selim Uddin and other Jamaat party leaders. Defense counsel for the politicians had filed applications Selim Uddin, Hamidur Rahman Azad MP and Rafiqul Islam requesting the court to dispense of the requirement that they appear in person. The counsel submitted that all of them have highest regards for the court and is not being able to comply with the court’s order solely by reason of security issues. The court rejected the applications stating that the two Jamaat leaders who have not yet appeared are now fugitives and such submission will not dispense with the requirement of personal appearance. The Tribunal fixed the next hearing for 10 April 2013. 

Finally, the defense sought time to produce defense witness in Kamaruzzaman’s case claiming that the witness could not appear due to illness. The court fixed Sunday 24 March 2013 as the next date for hearing the witness. The Tribunal stated that if the Defense again fails to produce their witness they will begin hearing closing arguments.

26 Feb 2013: ICT 1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Prosecution Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam: Disposition on Defense Applications, Prosecution Closing Arguments

Defense Applications
On 17 February 2013 Tajul Islam, Defense Counsel of Gholam Azam filed three applications. One application was for permission to either call General Sir Jack Deverell and Professor William Schabas as expert witnesses, depose these witnesses via video link, or to submit their expert reports into evidence pursuant to Rule 46A of the International Rules of Procedure 2010. Defense also filed another application for bail. On 20 February 2013 Tribunal heard these two applications along with another application filed by the Defense requesting permission inspect the record of orders. Today (26 February 2013) passed order regarding these three applications.

Regarding the application for two foreign witnesses Tribunal passed an order rejecting the application and stated that Tribunal already expressed its views at the time of recording of evidence. Tribunal further stated that the recording of evidence has already been completed and the case is now at the stage of Closing Arguments. The court did allow the Defense to submit the expert witness reports though it was unclear whether they would be accepted as exhibits or simply for reference by the Judges.

The Tribunal rejected the bail application, which was filed on medical grounds, stating that Gholam Azam has received adequate medical attention and that the nature of the charges against him and the stage of the trial do not allow for him to be set free on bail. The Tribunal further directed the authorities at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University to take all necessary steps to provide him proper treatment.

Regarding the inspection of record of orders Tribunal stated that a Defense Counsel will be allowed to inspect the record for an hour in front of two bench officers.

Closing Arguments
Thereafter, Tribunal heard the closing arguments of Prosecution side for 7th consecutive day. Prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon submitted arguments in support of Charge No 4 (complicity) incidents 13 through 23 counts. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings until February 27, 2013.  Continue reading

20 Feb 2013: ICT 2 Daily Summary – Contempt Proceedings, Kamaruzzaman Limitation of Defense Witnesses and Cross-Examination of PW 18

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Contempt Proceedings: Jamaat Dhaka City Unit
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Limitation of Defense Witnesses, Cross-examination of Prosecution witness 18 (Accused Present)

Today counsel for Jamaat’s Assistant Secretary General of the Dhaka city unit and a Central Executive member of the party appeared and requested ten weeks additional time to allow the accused to appear in court to respond to the contempt charges against them. The judges stated that ten weeks adjournment is unacceptable and they saw no reason why the defendants could not present themselves before the court in compliance with the order. The court then fixed 26 February 2013 as the next date for the matter and stated that the two implicated leaders, Selim Uddin and Hamidur Rahman Azad, must personally appear in the court on that day. The Tribunal initiated contempt proceedings against the two Jamaat leaders by suo-moto order because of comments allegedly made during public engagement on 4th February, a day prior to Mollah’s judgment. Selim Uddin allegedly commented in public that the tribunal should not exist anymore, while Azad allegedly threatened the start of a civil war if the Tribunal delivered an unfavorable verdict.

The court then moved to the Kamaruzzaman case and passed its order pertaining to the Prosecution’s application under Rule 46A of the Rules of Procedure, read with Section 11(3) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, seeking to limit the number of defense witnesses to avoid unnecessary delay in the proceeding. The Tribunal granted the Prosecution’s request and limited the Defense to four witnesses. They stated that only four witnesses would be necessary to support the Defense’s plea of alibi. The Chairman of Tribunal-2 said the defense bears no other burden to prove or disprove the case. The Tribunal asked the defense counsel to provide the prosecution with the names of such witnesses in the earliest opportunity.

The Tribunal then continued hearing the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 18, the Investigating Officer Abdul Razzaq.

Continue reading

19 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Mujahid Examination of PW 13, Kamaruzzaman Cross-Examination of PW 18

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: Examination of Prosecution Witness 13 (Accused Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman Prosecution Application and Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 18 (Accused Present)

The day’s proceedings began with the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 13 in the Mujahid case. 57 year old Shakti Shaha is the son of victim Upendra Narayan Shaha. In his testimony he emotionally described the killing of his father and many others from the Hindu community.

In the Kamaruzzaman case the Tribunal heard an application under Rule 46A of the Rules of Procedure, read with Section 11(3) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, filed by the prosecution requesting that the number of witnesses allowed to the Defense be limited so as to avoid unnecessary delay in the proceedings. The Tribunal stated it would provide its answer on February 20th. The Tribunal then returned to the cross-examination of the Investigation Officer (Prosecution witness ).  He was mainly questioned about the various prosecution documents exhibited in the case. The Defense sought to undermine the reliability of the documents and highlighted the various inconsistencies between witness statements given to the Investigation Officer and subsequent statements given by the witnesses in court.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid
Examination in Chief of Prosecution Witness 13
The Prosecution conducted their examination-in-chief of Shakti Shaha who testified about witnessing the killing of his father and others in the Hindu community. His testimony supported allegations under Charge 7. In particular he testified to the involvement of the accused in the local Peace Committee, his participation alongside other Biharis in the burning of dwelling houses belonging to the Hindu community, the killing of Upendra Narayan Shaha, Nupen Shikder, Biren Shaha, Nonita Ghosh and the rape and murder of Jhorna in the presence of the accused. The evidence also corroborated that given by Prosecution witness 12, Chitra Ranjan Shaha, who gave his testimony on 15 January 2013.

Shaha testified that the Pakistan Army entered Faridpur on 21 April 1971 and established military camps in various locations therein including Faridpur Circuit House and the district stadium. The witness stated that his family was afraid and took shelter in his sister’s house in Bakchor the same day. A few days later he said his sister’s house was looted and burned and they were forced to take shelter elsewhere.

He then testified that in the Bengali month of Boishakh at around 10 or 11 a.m., the accused Mujahid, Alauddin Kha and few others were seen in an open jeep heading towards the Board Office situated near the local market to attend a Peace Committee meeting. They left the meeting place around 2pm. Shaha said he came back to his sister’s house and climbed a fruit tree to pick fruits for food. He was in the tree when he saw Mujahid carrying a revolver and other Biharis carrying rifles headed towards the house. He testified he saw them tie up his father Upendra Narayan Saha and approximately 10 others. His mother offered money and all her gold jewelry in exchange for the release of her husband. They refused her pleas and took the detained to the Shree Angan. There Mujahid gave the signal to shoot and the Biharis opened fire. The witness saw from the tree that those lined up collapsed immediately after the firings.

The witness was very emotional and at this point began to cry loudly. The courtroom became silent. The Judge asked the Prosecution to calm the witness.

The witness testified that after half an hour he came down from the tree and saw his father lying dead. He said that one of the attacking party, Ohab Bihari, also hit his mother with rifle. A girl from Goalindo, named Jhorna was raped and shot to death. Another girl named Nonita Ghosh was also killed.

The witness confirmed that he gave his statement to the Investigation Officer during investigation. He stated that he has known Mujahid since childhood and that his brother Kiron Lal Shaha studied with Mujahid’s younger brother. The witness then identified Mujahid in the dock.

Defense Cross Examination
The Defense counsel began their cross-examination. They asked whether the witness remembered his date of birth and whether he had National voter ID card. The witness replied that although he gave the details of his date of birth at the time of the information collecting stage and preparation of the National Voter ID card, he was unable to remember the date at the time of questioning.

The cross-examination is scheduled to continue on the 26th.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman
Prosecution Application for Limitation of Defense Witnesses
The Tribunal heard a Prosecution application under Rule 46A of the Rules of Procedure, read with Section 11(3) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 requesting the Court to exercise its power to limit the number of Defense witnesses for an expeditious trial. The prosecution counsel argued that the Defense has submitted a long list of witnesses for the purpose of delaying the judicial process. They stated that the court’s intervention is required to expeditiously reach the ends of justice.

In reply, the Defense pointed out that although the court has the power to limit the number of witnesses, the prosecution has no power to file this application advocating that the same be done. He further submitted that the numbers of prosecution witnesses and Defense witnesses should be proportionate in order for the process to be balanced. The court fixed February 20th for passing an order on this application.

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witness 18
The Defense continued its cross-examination of Prosecution witness 18, the Investigation Officer Abdul Razzaq. He denied that he did not disclose where he obtained the documents in Exhibit-16 and that they haven’t been signed by the persons who presented them. He also denied the suggestion that the Prosecution did not take the statement of Mina Farah, author of “Juddhey Juddhey Jibon” (Exhibit-17), because she would not lie present false charges against the accused. The Defense noted that on pg 220 of her book, it is stated that word spread through radio transmission that her house was being used as the Al-Badr Head Quarters. The Defense alleged that the correctness of this statement has not been investigated by the Investigating Officer. The Defense also suggested that the book is unreliable because it was published 39 years after the war and is based on iperfect memories from the 1971 period. The Investigating Officer responded that he does not know the when the book was written but is aware of the fact that the author has been residing in the United States for a long time. He denied that the contents of the book were written upon the malicious direction of some people and that it is baseless. He also denied similar suggestions about the statements contained in Exhibit 8 and 15.

The witness was then asked about the contents of the book “Juddhey’r Araley Juddho” (Exhibit-19), by Professor Abu Sayeed, and the whereabouts of the author. The Defense noted that the author was a Minister during the last Awami regime and often participates in various television talk shows, yet has not been called as a Prosecution witness. They further highlighted that on page 162 the name of the accused is named as the Al-Badr Chief Organiser, but the area under his leadership is not specified. The book also states that Ashraf Hossain was the organiser in Mymensingh. The Defense alleged that the Investigating Officer did not investigate where the author collected the information contained in his book.

The Defense then addressed documentary evidence contained in Volume-2 of the Investigation Report. Specifically they noted that pages 433, 558, 584, 632, 657, 662, 673, 674, 684 and 771 contain the names of many people including the name of Mr Kamran but does not contain the name of the accused Kamaruzzaman. Additionally the Defense noted that pages 1144-1159 of Volume-3, as well as sections of Volumes 4-7, contain details of many atrocities but do not implicate the accused. The Defense also stated that the alleged copy of Kamaruzzaman’s Al-Badr ID Card, enclosed in the 6th Volume, does not also contain his signature. The accused’s name is also not mentioned on page 2710 of the 8th Volume which contains a newspaper report on Jamalpur Al-Badr and Al-Badr’s activities.

The Defense noted that two cases were filed against the accused outside of the ICT: Case No. 60 of 25 January 2008 in Pallabi Police Station and Case No. 34 of 31 December 2007 in Keraniganj Police Station. The Defense asked why the Investigating Officer did not meet the informants and witnesses from those cases and why he made no inquery into the contents of the First Information Report (FIR) from those cases. The witness replied that he had not done so because he was not in charge of investigation of those cases. (The Defense was prevented from seeing the Case Diary in the hands of the Investigation Officer. However, the same was given to the judges for inspection).

The IO denied the suggestions put forward by the Defense counsel that Kamaruzzaman was never the Chairman of Mymensingh Islami Chatra Shangha and stated that the involvement was not found in his investigation but came to his knowledge via a fax dated 20 January 2012 from the Police Super of Special Branch of Jamalpur district. He disagreed with the suggestion that the information of this fax was not dependable.

The witness said that his investigation revealed that the accused was the Al-Badr commander of Sherpur and that he finished his Secondary School Certificate in the year 1967 from JKM Institution. The witness acknowledged he did not know in which year the accused complete Class-10. Questions posed by the Defense showed that the Investigatin Officer did not visit the school of the accused and did not talk to any of his fellow students, teachers or members of staff. The Defense counsel then suggested that the witness’ findings about the accused becoming associated with Islami Chatra Shongho was baseless.

Finally, The Defense suggested that shahid  (martyr) Bodiuzzaman was in reality not a freedom fighter. The argued that Bdouzzaman trained liberation fighters and but died for a different reason (the same had been suggested to PW-6). The Investigating officer denied this but admitted that he did not talk to anyone who trained under Bodiuzzaman.

The cross-examination of the witness is scheduled to continue next week.