Tuesday, January 3, 2012

19 Dec 2011: Rejection of SQC petitions

At the beginning of the hearing, the chairman read out its order relating to six applications that had previously been filed by Salauddin Quader Chowdhury. (Please note, this is a sketch of the order, and a more accurate full version will be posted shortly). Subsequent to this order, the tribunal dealt with a cross examination of witness number two against Sayedee, and statement given by the third witness (see subsequent posts).
'The six applications filed by the accused petitioner is taken up for hearing as regards to the application for holding proceedings under Evidence Act 1872 and Criminal Code of Procedure 1898. We’ve heard Mr. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury in person and given our conscious thought. This is a tribunal created by the International Crimes Tribunal Act. With certain goals and authority this act provides for the detention, prosecution and punishment of persons for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law. This tribunal was created under basis of power given by section 6 of the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 and this tribunal is duty bound to follow the Act. In the Act it has been clearly stated that evidence of 1872 and Code of Proceedings of 1898 shall not be applicable in case of trials conducted by this tribunal. This Act provides as to how the tribunal shall proceed and evidence be taken into consideration. As such the submission made by SQC merits no consideration and is rejected.

Next application for allowing foreign counsels as consultants is taken up. In the rules it is clearly stated that this tribunal may allow appearance of foreign counsels for either parties provided that Bangladesh Bar Council authorizes them to conduct the case. Bangladesh Bar Council is regulated by its statute and rules on the basis of law passed by the parliament. We cannot allow any counsel to appear before us who doesn’t have the authority of the Bangladesh Bar Council. This application has no merit and is rejected. However, we are of the view that foreign counsels may advise both parties outside the court.

The next application is for allowing electronic media in the tribunal courtroom for live telecasting proceedings of the tribunal. We’ve heard Mr. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. The prayer made has been considered. No where in the world is live telecast allowed. In some tribunals press is allowed but live telecast is not allowed. There’s no act, no rules to allow live telecasting. We are of view that when law doesn’t permit, we can’t accept this application. If sometimes we think it’s proper to telecast some parts, that can be considered later. This application has no merit and stands rejected. 
Next application was to allow the petitioner 11 months to prepare his defence. Mr Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury has submitted this petition. We are view that both parties be given time to prepare. But that doesn’t mean if one party is given one month, the other party be allowed only one month. ..... the tribunal act allows at least 21 days shall be given to the defence. It is found that [in Sayedee's trial] they have been given more than three months time. This application filed cannot be allowed having no supporting evidence.

Next application is for definition of crimes as under international law. We are of view that prima facie case has been defined in the act. Even the we’ve stated this one under… We’ll take foreign suggestion if we find them relevant. We believe that crime has been defined in the act. The application is therefore rejected.

Next application is to abide by the international covenant on civil and political rights where Bangladesh is a state party. This is a matter to be decided by the government, not the tribunal. This tribunal is duty bound its Act. The application stands rejected.
Chowdhury asks whether he can sign another application that day. Chairman says yes, but filing won’t happen on the same day.

The chairman then adds to his order:
Another petition is filed by the Chief Defence lawyer in the office and referred to us. We allow Mr Badiuzzaman to consult with Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury in jail custody.

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