Tag Archives: superior responsibility

21 August 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Mir Qasem Ali Hearing on Framing of Charges

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Pre-Trial Proceedings against Mir Qasem Ali

In the case of Mir Qasem Ali the Prosecution placed their reply to the Defense’s application for the dismissal of the proposed charges against Mir Qasem Ali. The Tribunal scheduled  29 August for issuing its order on the matter. Continue reading

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.

16 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Final Closing Arguments, Mujahid Cross-Examination of PW 17

The publication of this post was delayed as we were waiting to obtain certain documents from the Prosecution. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecution vs. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman: Defense application and Conclusion of Prosecution Closing Arguments, Accused Present 
  2. Chief Prosecution vs. Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid: Defense Application and Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer

The Tribunal heard the last of the Prosecution’s Closing Arguments in the Kamaruzzaman  case. Prosecutor Tureen Afroz addressed remaining legal issues including the value of hearsay evidence, inconsistencies and the old evidence rule, and the doctrine of Superior Responsibility under Section 4(2). Two other Prosecutors made additional closing remarks before the Tribunal allowed the Defense to present a brief rebuttal. The case was then closed and the Tribunal officially took it into consideration awaiting verdict.

In the Mujahid case the Tribunal heard a Prosecution application seeking limitation of the number of Defense witnesses allowed. The Defense previously submitted a list of 1500 names listed as possible defense witnesses. After Disposing of the Application and limiting the Defense to three witnesses, the Tribunal then returned to the Defense’s cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, the Investigation Officer.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Kamaruzzaman
Defense Application for Opportunity to Make Statement
At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, the defense submitted an application on behalf of the accused under Section 17(1) and (2) of the ICT Act seeking permission for the Accused to make a statement before the Tribunal. Section 17(1) provides that the Accused “shall have the right to give any explanation relevant to the charge mage against him.” Section 17(2) allows the Accused to conduct his own Defense or to have the assistance of counsel.

The Prosecution opposed the application and stated that such a statement could only be allowed while the Tribunal is hearing witnesses. However, Closing Arguments are taking place and there is no such right at this stage of proceedings.

The Judges quickly rejected the application and agreed with the Prosecution’s interpretation of the Statute.  Continue reading

Weekly Digest 10: March 24-28

We apologize for the delay in publishing this week’s digest.

The Tribunal was in recess on 26 March 2013 in honor of Bangladesh’s independence day. Additionally, opposition parties declared hartals on the 27th and 28th of March. Therefore our coverage of those days is gathered from media sources as well as discussions with the Defense and Prosecution. Our researchers are unable to attend proceedings on hartal days due to security concerns.

Tribunal 1:
Proceedings in Tribunal 1 continued to center on the Defense’s Closing Arguments in the Gholam Azam case this week, with counsel completing their submissions regarding factual issues and Charge 5. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq is scheduled to present arguments on legal issues and Charges 1-4 next week. In the Salauddin Qader Chowdhury case the Defense cross-examined Prosecution witnesses 22 and 23. Additionally, The Tribunal heard Chowdhury’s Defense application for police escort to the Tribunal on hartal days.

Tribunal 2:
Tribunal 2 dealt with two cases this week. In the Kamaruzzaman case, Defense witness 5 completed providing testimony, and the Prosecution began Closing Arguments. The Tribunal also heard testimony from Prosecution witness 17, the Investigating Officer, in the Mujahid case.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 10 – March 24-28

Weekly Digest Issue 9: March 17-21

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 the Salauddin 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.

Please read the full report here: Weekly Digest, Issue 9 – March 17-21

15 April 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Kamaruzzaman Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Muhammed Kamaruzzaman: Final Defense Closing Arguments

The Defense for Muhammad Kamaruzzaman presented the last of their Closing Arguments for the case. Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique began the submission on behalf of the Accused, Kamaruzzaman. Senior Defense counsel Abdur Razzaq appeared and informed the Tribunal that he would resume his portion of the submission after the lunch break. The Defense highlighted five weaknesses of the Prosecution’s case: 

  •  Evidentiary weakness of Charges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Contradictory witness testimony 
  • Inconsistencies between courtroom witness testimony and original statements to the Investigating Officer
  • Credibility issues
  • Failure to Fulfill Requirements of Doctrine of Command Responsibility

Defense counsel Ehsan began his submission with arguments on further legal points involved in Charge-2. He then addressed inconsistencies and contradictions in the witness testimony and documentary evidence submitted in support of Charges-3, 5, 6, and 7.

After lunch, Abdur Razzaq made some final closing remarks regarding Charge 2 before turning to Charge 4.  He identified and outlined the substantial contradictions between the testimonies of the relevant witnesses. The Defense argued that the Prosecution has primarily relied on oral evidence and did not produce a lot of documentary evidence. Razzaq stated that given numerous inconsistencies and contradictions, the testimony of the Prosecution witnesses leaves too much doubt for a conviction to be justified. The Defense claimed that Kamaruzzaman has been targeted solely because of his political affiliations.

Charge-2:
Definition of “Other Inhumane Acts” as Crimes Against Humanity
Defense counsel Ehsan Siddique claimed that the charge of complicity in Charge-2 has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He submitted that the term “other inhumane acts” is not a catch-all category and cannot be used to include any type of action not otherwise enumerated within the statute. He cited to the ICTR Trial Chamber’s decision in The Prosecutor v Clement Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, para 583, states that the category should not be utilized by the Prosecution as an all-encompassing, “catch-all” term.

Continue reading

4 April 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Gholam Azam Defense Closing Arguments

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs. Gholam Azam: Defense Closing Arguments

Today Defense counsel Imran Siddiq continued presenting the Defense’s Closing Arguments. He added some additional arguments regarding the impact of censorship on the reliability of documentary evidence and then addressed Charge 3 which is for Incitement to commit crimes under section 3(2) of the ICT act of 1973.

Censorship
The Defense added some points to the arguments they submitted regarding censorship on 3 April. Imran submitted that a conviction cannot be solely based on newspaper reports where the newspaper reports have not been collaborated. The Defense submitted that it is evident from Exhibit-EK that the Chief Martial Law Administrator imposed restrictions on newspapers through the Martial Law Regulation no 77, prohibiting printing or publishing any news which is calculated to prejudicially affect the integrity or solidarity of Pakistan. The Defense argued that Prosecution Exhibit 3, a news report published in the daily Shangram 19 June 1971, shows that Gholam Azam called for the withdrawal of censorship restrictions. Imran also noted that Defense witness 1 testified that during 1971 the Martial Law Authority imposed censorship on mass media by official notification. The Defense pointed to pages 62 and 84 of the book Muktijuddho: Bibhinno Dristikon Theke, by Sadruddin, stated that due to censorship news received from East Pakistan was very limited and unreliable. The Defense further noted that the book Ami Mujib Bolsi, by Krtittibas Ojha, states that censorship was imposed on newspapers, radio and television were not allowed to publish without prior permission regarding the contents from the relevant authority. Continue reading