Sunday, July 31, 2011

12 Jul 2011: Progress report on Jamaat leaders

Present in court were four of the Jamaat-e-Islami accused, Nizami, Mujahid, Kamruzzaman and Molla.

The chief prosecutor submitted a progress report, and pointed to page 72 of the report, and the tribunal read it

The tribunal chair asked the chief prosecutor, ‘You need more time? I’ve read page 72, and the summary of the submission, as it seems, you need more time, is that correct?’ The prosecutor agreed.

The tribunal chair said, ‘But how much time do you need? On 2nd August it will be one year since their detention. You know what the rule says – the investigation has to be completed within one year. Now, how long do you think it would take to finish the investigation? You have a deadline and it is one year, otherwise the tribunal may grant bail to the accused.’

The prosecutor said that they needed ‘a month or so’. The tribunal chair said, ‘There are many things that are here in the report. I see you have made some progress but it seems you need more time.’ The prosecutor then said that they can complete the investigation by 1 August. 'Let up hope that we can come up to the lordship's expectations.'

The defence lawyer then stood up and said, ‘the prosecution is playing the same cassette over and over again – we need time. But the prosecution are failing again and again. the prosecution can take its time, no problem – but why are the accused kept in jail. You came up with allegations after 40 years and still you could not come up with substantial evidence or even a report. But why should the accused remain detained? The existing legislation must be taken into account my lord. Where does it say that the prosecution can extend the time?'

‘Another thing is that this tribunal has been termed as domestic tribunal by the honorable registrar, but why? This is international crimes tribunal.

The tribunal chair said, yes, ‘International Crimes Tribunal within bracket Act

The defence lawyer then said, ‘If this trial has to follow international law there are many obligations to be fulfilled. We think that whenever there are international obligations to be fulfilled, this tribunal is termed as a domestic one to escape those responsibilities.’

The tribunal then said, ‘Look, we are taking every international decision into account. If you come up with the decision of a Cambodian court or even ICC, you can, nobody will bar you. We said that we will consider those. But that doesn’t make this tribunal to become an international one.’

The defence lawyer then said, ‘But whenever we talk about international crimes, talking about ICC it is being said that the tribunal is not international.’

The tribunal chair responded, ‘But we have taken every international decision that you came up with into consideration, not a single argument was barred. So, why are you saying this today? We are saying this over and over again that this is a domestic tribunal dealing with international crimes.’

The defence lawyer then said, ‘But whenever we are coming up with international laws the prosecution is saying it is domestic.’ The tribunal said,‘let the prosecution present their case, and you present yours. The decision is made by us.’

The Tribunal chair said that whatever the tribunal registrar said is '100 percent correct'

Islam then said that the next submission is that it has been almost one year since the accused have been detained. He said that The accused are in bad health condition. There is no insulin in the jail and some accused even had heart surgery. For getting proper medical treatment they should be transferred to central jail where these facilities are available.

He claimed that the doctor suggested that some of them need straight 10-days of treatment in a hospital. 'They can’t do without insulin but it’s not being supplied.'

The tribunal chair then spoke to the chief prosecutor. ‘You said before that you will provide all sorts of cooperation regarding their treatment. There good treatment must be ensured. There were also orders passed on it. You should ask Jail Authority (JA) to cooperate. Please contact JA so that they provide proper treatment and other medication. About their treatment everyone has to be serious. Everybody has their right to get treatment. Their sickness, their health and medication has to be taken with utmost importance. ‘

Islam then said that ‘In the Kashimpur jail there’s not even any arrangement to keep insulin.’

The tribunal chair said, ‘We passed orders, and we have been very clear that they must get all sorts of treatment.’

The tribunal chair then passed the following order:
‘Today is fixed for submitting investigation report or progress report by the prosecution. The accused persons have been produced by the prison authority and they are present in the court. Mr Golam Arif Tipu, the chief prosecutor, for the prosecution, submits by producing a progress report that some more time is required for completion of the investigation report. He also said that the investigation is at the fag end and soon they expect that they’ll submit the investigation report in form of formal charge to this tribunal.

Mr Tajul Islam, learned counsel, pleaded for the accused persons objected to the prayer for time by the prosecution for the progress report.

On 2/8/2010 this tribunal issued warrant of arrest against the accused persons. One year is going to be lapse on 1st August next. We’ve given anxious thought to this submissions of both sides. We are of the view that some more time should be given to the prosecution in this respect. The prosecution is directed to submit the investigation report within 1/8/11.

The four bail applications filed by the defence praying for bail of the accused persons. Considering the fact that the time of investigation is going to be completed, and one year is going to lapse on 1/8/11, we are of the view that those petitions by the defence should be heard then. Let the bail petitions also be heard on 1/8/11.

There was also discussion about another application filed by the defence concerning the signing of the accused’s income tax returns.

The following order was passed:
'Mr Tajul Islam submitted that the accused are to submit tax return and sign those returns. But Jail Authority is not allowing them to sign. The prosecution submitted that normally the jail authority should allow the accused persons to sign this tax return. He also submitted that according to jail coude this should be allowed. Upon hearing both sides we are of the view that the accused has a rights to sign the income tax and submit it to the proper authority. Therefore the Jail Authority is directed to allow the accused to sign their income tax return to submit it to the proper authority. Let a copy of this be served to jail authority
Advocate Farid, for the defendent Mollah then got up and briefly complained about lack of insulin in the jail for his client, and his general health conditions

The tribunal is correct to say that it allows the defence to make arguments relating to international legal norms, however it is also the case the tribunal either does not respond to those arguments, or when it does it does not explain why it is not rejecting them. The only exception to this relates to the standard of allowing a lawyer to be present during interrogation, where the tribunal has explained why it is not following that norm.

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