Thursday, December 8, 2011

7 Dec 2011: Defence applications rejected

This was the date set for the start of witness testimony. A post about the testimony given by the first witness is dealt with in a separate post.

At the start of the hearing, the tribunal agreed to hear three applications.
- The first related to being provided with any exculpatory material which the defence may have.

- the second was an application for the defence to be provided with copies of over 40 documents which the prosecution had noted as part of their formal charge application, but were never provided to the defence.

- the third was an application concerning the inability of the defence to undertake inquiries in Pirojpur due to lack of police protection - and as a result they were seeking an order for police protection, an adjournment of proceedings and further time to be given before having to submit a list of witnesses.

Details of these applications will be given later.

This is the order given by the chairman.
'Three applications filed by the defence. One for the prosecution to disclose exculpatory evidence. The second one for the immediate disclosure of several documents. And third for protection of defence lawyers in Pirjopur with a prayer for adjournment, and a prayer to submit their list of witnesses and material at a later stage.

We have heard Tajul Islam for the defence and by Syed Haider Ali for the prosecution who opposed the petition and perused the applications.

We have repeatedly said that this tribunal was set up by the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act and that it will follow the Act and the rules of procedure set up under it.

Section 9(3) of the Act states that: 'The Chief Prosecutor shall, at least three weeks before the commencement of the trial, furnish to the Tribunal a list of
witnesses intended to be produced along with the recorded statement of such witnesses or copies thereof and copies of documents which the prosecution intends to rely upon in support of such charges.'

Section 16 (2) of the Act states that: 'A copy of the formal charge and a copy of each of the documents lodged with the formal charge shall be furnished to the accused person at a reasonable time before the trial; and in case of any difficulty in furnishing copies of the documents, reasonable opportunity for inspection shall be given to the accused person in such manner as the Tribunal may decide.'

On perusal of these two sections it is clear what documents need to be submitted to it and what documents to the accused and how long time will be given for preparation for defence.

We found that the documents which prosecution intend to rely on have been submitted to the tribunal given to the accused party.

Accused could not make out a case for the first two applications so the two petitions stand rejected.

As regards third petition it was stated that the defence counsel did not get protection from proper authority during their Pirojpur visit.

All the citizens of the country are entitled to get protection.

The Superintendant of police is to decide on protection of person and what protection is to the given.

Regarding adjournment and more time to submit list of defence witnesses and documents. We have given this anxious thought. The trial of the case has been started. Formal charge was submitted along time ago. Charges framed long time ago. Defence have been given more time to provide list of witnesses.

Even then, we will give then some more time to allow defence to provide lists of witnesses and documents with which to rely on. They are to submit this within one wekk by 14 December 2011, positively as last chance.

The prayer for adjournment is rejected.

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