Tag Archives: limitation of witnesses

27 August 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Nizami Prosecution Application for Additional Witnesses

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Motiur Rahman Nizami

Today Tribunal the Tribunal heard an application filed by the Prosecution in the Nizami case requesting additional witnesses be admitted under section 9(4) of the ICT Act 1973. The Prosecution argued that under section 19(1) of the ICT Act 1973 the Tribunal is not bound by technical rules of evidence and so there is no bar to allowing additional witnesses at this stage of the proceedings. They further argued that during the investigation material witnesses were found and requested that they be allowed to testify in the interest of justice.

The Defense opposed the Prosecution’s  application. They noted that the Prosecution specifically mentioned that the Investigation Officer was conducting further investigation for the purpose of collecting additional witnesses. Citing Rule 11 of the Rules of Procedure, the Defense submitted that the investigation cannot continue for such an uncertain period of time. They asserted that the Prosecution applied for these additional witnesses because their case was insufficent. The Defense argued that the Prosecution did not even explain why they had failed to bring the witnesses from the previous list, a list containing more than 100 witnesses. They deemed the application to be demonstrative of malafide intent and submitted that if Tribunal allowed the additional witnesses at this stage of the trial it would hamper the Defense’s ability to prepare and thereby prejudice the Accused. They requested the Tribunal to reject the application.

After hearing both the sides Tribunal passed an order allowing five additional witnesses. The Prosecution then requested permission to call one of these witnesses to testify as he was present at the Tribunal. The Defense objected and the Tribunal questioned how the Prosecution had seen fit to bring the witness to the Tribunal when they could not have known how the Tribunal would rule on its application. The Defense requested an additional 10 days to prepare for the additional witnesses. The Prosecution opposed the prayer and submitted that there is no scope under law for giving such time. The Tribunal scheduled 29 August for recording the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 18 and 1 September for cross-examination.

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

25 Feb 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Defense Applications, Alim Continuance

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Two Defense Applications
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim: Defens Request for Additional Time

Today the Tribunal heard two Defense applications in the Kamaruzzaman case. The first was an application to recall the court’s order ending the cross-examination of Prosecution witness18, the Investigation Officer. The order was issued after Defense counsel Kafil Uddin Chowdhury failed to complete the cross-examination within the time stipulated by the court. On 20 February 2013 (Wednesday), the court instructed the Defense to finish the cross-examination before lunch break on Sunday, February 24th. The Defense was absent on Sunday however, due to the ongoing hartal (strike). The Tribunal nonetheless announced that the cross-examination was completed after the lunch recess on the 24th. The second application was a request to allow the Defense to submit additional documents into evidence.

In the Alim case the Tribunal granted a request from the Defense for additional time due to the inability of the senior Defense counsel to attend.

Continue reading

20 Feb 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Closing Arguments, Nizami Cross-Examination of PW 2

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Gholam Azam: Applications, Closing Arguments (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs Motiur Rahman Nizami (Accused Present)

In the Gholam Azam case the Defense submitted three applications. In the first they requested permission for the appearance of foreign expert witnesses General Sir Jack Deverell and Professor William Schabas, either in person or via video link. Alternatively the Defense requested that the Tribunal accept their expert reports into evidence under Rule 46(A) of the Rules of Procedure for the ICT. The Defense additionally filed another application for bail, stating that Gholam Azam is over 90 years old and is in poor physical condition. They claim that he is not receiving proper treatment in the prison cell of the hospital. Finally, the Defense submitted an application requesting permission to inspect the record of orders. The Defense does not receive all orders passed by the Tribunal automatically and stated that they needed to review the record in order to make sure that they had requested the necessary orders. The Tribunal then heard the Prosecution’s closing arguments for the 4th day. The Prosecution focused on Charges 2, and 3.

In the Nizami case the Tribunal heard an application filed by the Prosecution requesting permission to submit additional documents relating to Charge 16 and other charges. The Defense objected that there is no scope to augment reports after investigation, since Tribunal took cognizance base on complete investigation report. The Defense also stated that they did not receive the investigation reports. Thereafter, Defense Counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined PW-2, Zahir Uddin Jalal alias Bichchu Jalal. The Tribunal then adjourned the proceeding of Nizami case until March 6, 2013.

Continue reading

14 Feb 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Limitation of Defense Witnesses, Chowdhury Direct and Cross-Examination of PW 20

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Gholam Azam: Request for Time to Produce Defense Witnesses (Accused Not Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Quader Chowdhury: Direct and Cross-Examination of PW 20 (Accused Present)

On February 14 Tajul Islam, Defense counsel for Gholam Azam requested that the Tribunal to allow them one week time so that they can place a list of new witnesses before the Tribunal. He submitted that due to the Shahbagh Movement (a ongoing protest calling for the death penalty against all those on trial and for the banning of Jamaat) the defense witnesses are afraid to give testimony before the Tribunal. Tajul Islam submitted that on February 11, 2013 Defenze Witness No 1 concluded placing his testimony and today is only February 14. He requested that the Defense be given at least until next Sunday (February 17) to produce witnesses. He said if his application were denied the Defense would be highly prejudiced. Tribunal rejected the prayer and fixed February 17 for closing arguments of the Prosecution.

In the Salauddin Quader Chowdhury case Sheikh Morshed Anwar (PW-20) concluded giving his examination-in-chief and Ahsanul Huq Hena began cross-examining him for the Defense. The proceedings were then adjourned until February 17, 2013.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury

Prosecution witness 20, Sheikh Morshed Anwar provided testimony before the Tribunal. Anwar is the son of victim Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed and brother of victim Sheikh Alamgir. He identified himself before the Tribunal as being 62 years old and employed as a businessman.

The Prosecution Examination in Chief
Sheikh Morshed Anwar stated that on March 25, 1971 his father Sheikh Mozzafor gave a speech in Laldighi. That night one of his shop employees was injured by a bullet from indiscriminate firing of Pakistani army as they made their way to Chittagong through Agrabad. He stated that until April 1, 1971 he was in Rahmatganj. On April 1, 1971 his father Sheikh Mozaffar Ahmed, his brother Sheikh Alamgir, Alamgir’s wife Umme Habiba Sultana and others took shelter in Raozan and he himself and another brother Khurshid took shelter at their farm villa. His cousin and uncle Ali shortly after informed him that the Pakistani Army had abducted his father and brother while they were returning from Raozan in front of Hathazari intersection. He said that he heard from his cousin and uncle that  Alamgir’s wife Umme Habiba Sultana and aunt Momtaz Begum were also in the car with his father and brother. He testified that he had heard that after checking the vehicle the Pakistani army was going to let them go but suddenly Salauddin Quader Chowdhury along with his associates arrived and took Anwar’s father and brother out of the car and took them to the nearby army camp. Momtaz Begum asked Salauddin Quader Chowdhury where they were being taken.  In reply he allegedly answered that the father and brother would be asked some questions and then would be freed.

Anwar testified that he was told that after Fazlul Huq, the brother of Umme Habiba (Alamgir’s wife), went to the army camp to look for the father and brother. There he found out that Alamgir and Mozaffar had been arrested. Anwar said that he heard that Fazlul Huq saw that Alamgir and Mozaffar’s hands were tied behind them. Anwar said that he returned to the family home in Rahmatganj and went back to his work in a bakery show-room in Still Mill. He said that he told a retired Panjabi Major about the incident and that the major went and  searched inside the camp for his brother and father. The major informed Anwar  that his father and brother were not found there. Anwar further said that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s father, Fozlul Quader Chowdhury, was a relative of Alamgir’s mother-in-law and that she went to ‘Goods Hill’ to find out what had happened to Alamgir and Mozaffar. Later on Fozlul Quader Chowdhury told her that they searched for Mozaffar and Alamgir and did not receive any information about them and they might have been killed. Anwar alleged that the Pakistani Army would not have been able to kill his father and brother if Salauddin Quader Chowdhury had not pointed to them.

Thereafter The Prosecution had Anwar exhibit six newspapers: the Daily Azadee dated 17 April 1996, the daily Chotrolla from 1 May 1998, the daily Azadee dated 17 April 1999, the daily Azadee dated 26 March 1998, the daily Prothom Alo dated 21 March 2002 and a photograph before the Tribunal. Anwar said that the Investigating Officer made the seizure list in front of him and that he signed the seizure list. He identified Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in the dock.

Defense Cross-Examination of PW 20
The Defense then conducted the cross-examination of the witness. Anwar admitted that he did not tell Zakirul Huq (an Awami League activist) or other neighbors about the killing of his father and brother but said that they might have known about the incident. He denied that he told the Investigating Officer that on April 1, 1971 he, his brother, father and sister-in-law went to his sister-in-law’s house. He said he doesn’t know the number of the car or how many days the car was left there. He admitted that Ismail was known as 420 (wrong doer) and denied that Alamgir used Ismail’s car to drive his family members to the sister in law’s house. He denied that his family did not have a car in 1971, but admitted that he never saw the blue book of this car.

Anwar said that he had a National ID card but that he doesn’t remember what date of birth is written on it. He said that in 1971, except Alamgir, all of his brothers were in the farm villa located in Koi Gram. He said that he did not read the documents which he exhibited today. He admitted that he married his brother Alamgir’s wife Umme Habiba (PW-17). Anwar denied that he, his brother Alamgir and his sister-in-law lived in a house located in Agrabad and denied telling this to the Investigating Officer.

Anwar said he doesn’t know the name and or address of the shop employee who was injured on the night of March 25. He admitted that his statements regarding the death of his father and brother were based on hearsay. He stated that he had not read the writing of his elder brother Jahangir regarding the death of his brother and father. Anwar said that he did not read ‘Amar Ekattor’ a book written by Dr Anisuzzaman, or ‘Bangali Jatiotabadi Shongram Muktijuddhe Chittagong’ a book written by Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, or ‘Pramanno Dalil Muktijuddhe Chittagong’ a book written by Gazi Saleh Uddin. He denied that OC of Kotoali Thana (Police Station) arrested his brother Khurshed Anwar for stealing the car of Ismail. He denied that on April 13, 1971, at the check point at the gate of Noyapara, the Pakistani Army arrested freedom fighter Abdur Rob, Saifuddin Khaled Chowdhury, Dilip Kanti Chowdhury, Anwar’s father Sheikh Mozaffor Ahmed and Eunus. He further denied that according to their confession the victims had gone to Rawzan to seize arms, and that the Pakistani army killed all of them. He said he did not know whether any mass grave was found there recently.

He admitted that he did not tell the Investigating Officer about his marriage to Umme Habiba (Alamgir’s wife). He said that he gave his statement to the Investigating Officer on October 12, 2010 in the Circuit House. He said that during the Liberation War, Shiblee, son of Alamgir, was 2 or 3 years old. He denied that Shiblee, who is now working in HSBC bank, told him not to give false statements. Anwar further said that he provided the same description of events to the Investigating Officer as in his testimony and during cross-examination. He said that during the Liberation War his cousin was 20 years old. He admitted that during the Liberation War Pakistan army used the Agrabad road and very few civilian used this road. He further admitted that Pakistan Army generally used to check people of this age range. Thereafter Tribunal adjourned the proceedings till February 17, 2013.

Ahsanul Huq Hena informed the Tribunal that he would not continue the cross-examination on Sunday, as Salauddin Quader Chowdhury himself would finish the cross-examination.

Then the Prosecution raised an objection stating that the Defense should not receive protection under Sections 12 and 17 of the ICT Act 1973. Section 12 provides that where an accused is not represented by counsel, the Tribunal may appoint counsel at the expense of the Government to defend the accused. Section 17 provides the rights of an accused person, and includes the right to give an explanation relevant to the charges against him, the right to conduct his own defense or have counsel, and the right to present evidence in support of his defense. Currently, the Tribunal has assigned state defense counsel to Chowdhury after he requested permission to dismiss his counsel during the end of the Parliamentary Session. However,  Huq Hena, who was previously appointed by Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, continues to represent Chowdhury and has been working with the state appointed counsel.