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.