Monday, July 23, 2012

2 July 2012: Kamruzuman trial opening

Tribunal Two

The trial of Kamruzzaman started. Please note that between 16 April (when the case was moved to Tribunal two), and 3 July (the beginning of the trial) no detailed notes of proceedings are available. However the key orders/applications involving tribunal two in this period (and tribunal one before) are set out below..
- Prosecution application for charge framing (in tribunal 1)
Defence response (in tribunal 1) 
- Tribunal order to transfer case to tribunal 2
- Tribunal order of Indictment
- Defence review application
- Tribunal order on review application

Opening of Trial: prosecution statement
Golam Arif Tipu, the Chief Prosecutor) started reading out from the opening statement of Kamruzzaman. A summary is set out below:
For the first time, the trial procedure against the accuseds of War Crime happened during the period of Liberation War of 1971 has been started in independent Bangladesh. It has been started after the long time of four decades. In our Liberation War, about 30 lacs people died, 2 lacs women were raped and 1 crore people had to ran away from their own country. We have no language but contempt for those forces called Razakar bahinee, Shanti Bahinee, Al Badar, Al Shames, Islamee Chatra Sangha for their activities in the Liberation War. These forces caused genocide, rape, loot and conflagration in 1971. And, accused Md. Kamarujjaman was directly involved in these types of criminal activities. We will serve all necessary proofs against him.

After being elected in 2008, this Government has started trial against the criminals, though late. For the administration of justice these trials’ importance is beyond description.

The allegations against the accused are undoubtedly well established. We want to bring him before justice for his planned and specific crimes. The accused not only assisted the Pakistani Armed Forces, but also involved in direct genocide.

Formal allegation against the accused was brought on 5 December, 2011. He was sought to be alleged under sections 3(1), 3(2) and 4(2) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973. Charge was framed against him on 04/6/2012. Allegations against him were brought on 7 counts which are punishable under section 20 of the said Act.

[At this moment, Chairman of the Tribunal told him to shorten the statement.]

Chief Prosecution then started to tell about the proclamation of independence. According to his statement, after the starting of mass genocide as well as anarchy at the night of 25th march around the whole East Pakistan, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed independence of the land at midnight and was arrested after that. And, Bangladesh achieved its independence after nine months long sanguinary and destructive war.
Saiful Islam, the prosecutor then took over.
This case involves commission and intention to commit genocide. And, on 25th March the Pakistanee Armed Forces aggressively attacked millions of non-armed people. And subsequently they were assisted and followed by the Rajakar Bahinee, Shanti Bahinee, Al Badar Bahinee etc.

Then he described the historical background behind the liberation movement.

He told that the preparation to commit Operation Search Light was begun from February, 1971. On 11, 19 and 26 February Yahya and Bhutto sat for confidential meetings for that purpose.

Then Justice Md. Shahinur Islam again told him to shorten his statement.

Saiful Islam (Prosecutor) told that in conjunction with Pakistani Army Jamaat-e-Islami created Shanti Bahinee as auxiliary force of the main force. At the period of Liberation War, the small conservative religion based political parties united to defend freedom fighters. At first Rajakar Bahini was created by the Jamaat leader of Khulna, Md. Yusuf Ali containing 96 members. Through the East Pakistan Rajakar Ordinance, the former Ansar Bahinee was abolished and their whole assets were donated to the Rajakar Bahinee. They were trained from one and half to two weeks and given monthly allowance.

On 22 April 1971, not getting much reliance upon Rajakar Bahinee, Mr. Ashraf Hossain of Jamalpur started the Al Bador Bahinee containing the members of Islami Chhatra Sangha. Mr. Kamarujjaman was the leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha of Sherpur. This Force was directly involved in murder of the bangalee people especially the intellectuals of the land.
Nurjahan Mukta, then took over.
She described about the establishment of Al Badar Bahinee. She gave references of different books and journals. With the implicit consent of Pakistani Government this force was formally established on May, 1971. These forces were trained to use different arms. Their training camps were used as torture camps. Monthly allowance of per head Al Badar member was 90 taka. Besides they were provided convenience allowance. Mr. Kamarujjaman was the main organizer of this Al Badar Bahinee.

Kamarujjaman was the resident of Mudipara, Sherpur. His present address is Pallabi, Dhaka. He started politics of Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1967 while he was the student of class ten. Subsequently he became the President of Islami Chhatra sangha of Larger Maymensing district. Under his supervision short armed trainings were given to the Al Badar Bahinee. His actions led to kill the innocent people including Hindus and loot and destruction. Planning and the implementation of planning to commit war crime was incurred by him which falls under sections 3(2), 3(1) and 4(2).
Then Rana Das Gupta then took over.
He gave references of different books and journals from which it is clear that Mr Kamarujjaman was directly involved in murder, rape and loot. His Al Badar Bahini was a killing squad of Pakistani Army. He and his Bahinee used Surendranath Saha’s house to torture brutally Bangalee people day after day. In Jamalpur this Al Badar Bahini voluntarily worked to commit destruction. (Book: Ekattorer Ghatok o Dalalra Ke Kothay, Pg: 187) under the leading of Kamarujjaman the activists of Shanti Bahinee were included in the Al Badr Bahini.
Nurjahan Mukta then took over.
She told about the constitution of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. According to her, in last four decades we never saw any apologies from these war criminals. Criminals of Nazi host were trialed through Nuremburg Tribunal. Till now, they have no voting right. But in our country war criminals got voting right within ten years of their crimes. The new Government of war devastated new born country was busy in tackling war damage, food crisis etc. Yet, Bangladesh Dalal Ain, 1972 was passed. In 1972, politics relating to religion was banned. In 1973, Bangabandhu proclaimed general pardon to only those who were not directly involved in grievous crimes. He attempted to punish the accused of genocide, rape, robbery etc. But in 1975, after the brutal killing of the whole family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the punishment procedure was hampered. Subsequently, taking power of Mushtaq Ahmed and Ziaur Rahaman, legalization of religion based politics, recognizing voting rights of the war criminals, granting citizenship to recognized criminals, abolition of Article 12 from the constitution, making of the list of freedom fighters doubtful etc. paved the way of these Pakistanee agents to become stronger in the land of Bangladesh.
At this moment Tajul Islam (Defence Counsel) objected saying that this is a political speech. On page 72, it is stated that ‘proved criminals’ which is not fair.

Then honorable Justices assured him that this comment is not accepted by them.

Nurjahan Mukta and Saiful Islam then in turn continued:
They provided examples of International laws under which criminals against humanity would be trialed. The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh was constituted on May, 2010. In section 19 (3) of the Tribunal, importance was given to judicial notice instead of common knowledge. The crimes committed by the war criminals also violated Article 3 of Geneva Convention, 1949. The honorable Tribunal has the complete authority to trial those crimes. International Crimes Tribunal of Rwanda also praised the International Crimes Tribunal Act,1973 of Bangladesh.

Accused Kamarujjaman and his force committed crimes against humanity in larger Maymensingh district. To kill intellectuals within a short time, Al Badar Bahinee was created taking the members of Shanti Bahinee. They were directed with the direct supervision of Pakistani Armed Forces. And the main organizer was the accused Kamarujjaman and his host. Their heinous activities still astonishes the people of the world. Such types of incidents are rare in history. Nobody is beyond the law. And, in the universal reality, punishment of the war criminals is the demand of time.
After submission of the opening statement by the prosecutors, Mr. Tajul Islam said that the defense have not got a copy of the charge framing order yet. To complete, copy and finalize documents and discuss with the accused he prayed four weeks.

The honorable Tribunal fixed 15 July next date for taking evidence.

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