Monday, September 2, 2013

Tribunal passes order on contempt application against Human Rights Watch

2 Sept 2012

This is a detailed note taken of the order as read out by the Tribunal One chairman Justice Kabir relating to the prosecution's application seeking contempt proceedings to be issued against Human Rights Watch and two of its staff members concerning a report that the human rights organisation published regarding the trial of Ghulam Azam. It will be replaced by the text of the actual order as soon as it is available.

Ghulam Azam trial judgement
Human Rights Watch statement on judgement 
Prosecution written application seeking contempt proceedings
- Prosecution's oral arguments in support of application
- Comment on prosecution application
- Media reporting of tribunal judges pre-judgement speech

Below is the order read out in court.
Today is fixed for passing order on an application filed for contempt under section 11(4) of the 1973 ICT Act by the chief prosecutor seeking the drawing up of proceedings against Human Rights Watch and two officials, the opposite parties. 
The chairman and two members are judges of the supreme court of bangladesh. This tribunal is a legally constituted judicial body set  upon 28 March 2010 to try crimes against humanity and other international offices as specified in section 3 of the ICT Act 1973. 
Mr Tapos with Sultan Mahmodd and Tureen Afroz made application for contempt in open court. The learned prosecutors submitted that this tribunal by observing such laws pursuant in the 1973 ICT Act and rules of procedure conducted the trial of Ghulam Azam and gave verdict on 15 July 2013 and convicted him and sentenced him to 90 years. 
It is submitted that two appeal have been made against judgement relating to Ghulam Azam which are not proceeding in the Appellate Division - but that despite this the opposing parties willfully made illegal comment on sub judice matter which is unethical. 
The opposite party no 3, working under the direct supervision of opposite party no 2 an article published on 16 August 2013, with title 'Bangladesh: Azam conviction based on flawed proceedings'. In same article on 16 August 2013, the opposite party 1, 2 and 3, criticised judgement and charges in the following way: 
(a) judges undertaking investigations
(b) collusion between prosecutors and judges
(c) tribunal failed to take steps to protect defence witnesses
(d) changes in judicial panel in the Azam trial
(e) lack of evidence to prove charged beyond reasonable doubt 
The learned prosecutors prayed for contempt proceedings to be issued against opposite party nos 1, 2 and 3 for biased, false, male fide article, and for scandalising the judges of the tribunal
On perusal of the application, and considering substance of the arguments of the learned prosecutors, we are of the view that there are sufficient grounds to draw up contempt proceedings against [each of the three parties]. 
Allegations in proposed contempt proceedings are: 
1. The opposite party has made five illegal contentions about the trial process of Ghulam Azam in an illegal article on a sub-judice mater, knowing that there are two appeals pending before the appellate division. Thus they illegally interfered in the justice process of Bangladesh. 
2. Opposite parties neither made any attempt to find out about the trial or attended any of the tribunal sessions, but together made biased, scandalous report with intent to ... make the whole trial proceedings controversial. 
3. Opposite parties have unethically questioned the dignity of the judge on their website and have tarnished them in the esteem of people. 
A notice should be issued against them to give response within three weeks why contempt proceedings under section 11(4) of the 1973 Act should not be introduced against them.
Next date of proceedings is 30 September 2013

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