Tribunal rejects Mollah’s plea
Dealing with a review petition against war-crimes accused Abdul Quader Mollah’s indictment, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday observed that there was no scope to review the charge framing at this stage. Unless there were clerical or arithmetical mistakes, the tribunal could not review the indictment, Tribunal-2 said in its order yesterday. It observed that “the matter stated on the review petition may be disposed of in the trial stage”. The three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, however, replaced the words “and also for” with “or in the alternative” in the second paragraphs of every charge framed against the Jamaat leader to avoid “cumulative charging”. On May 28, the tribunal indicted Quader Mollah on six counts of crimes against humanity charges, including murder and mass killings, during the Liberation War. It had fixed June 20 for the trial to begin with the opening statement from the prosecution. But Quader Mollah’s defence sought review of the indictment order. In the review petition, defence counsels said the prosecution had neither mentioned Quader Mollah as a member of Al Badr force (a collaborator force) in the formal charges nor had it produced sufficient evidence to prove the claim. But the tribunal described the accused as an Al-Badr member in the indictment order. They also said the tribunal framed “cumulative charges” against their client as he was charged for “participating” in war crimes as well as for his “complicity” in the crimes. Mohammad Ali, the conducting prosecutor of the case, told The Daily Star yesterday that there was no legal bar to hold the trial against the Jamaat leader following the tribunal order yesterday.
Meanwhile, the tribunal fixed June 19 to pass an order on a similar petition in the case against another Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
The tribunal, on June 4, indicted the assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami on seven counts of crimes against humanity charges.
The tribunal fixed the date after the defence and the prosecution completed their arguments on the review petition filed on June 11.
During yesterday’s argument, Abdur Razzaq, chief defence counsel of detained Jamaat leaders, said the tribunal charged Kamaruzzaman with “participating” in war crimes. At the same time he was charged with “complicity” in the crimes.
“This type of cumulative charging is not permissible in the act [International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973],” he added.
Razzaq said the allegations brought against Kamaruzzaman do not fall under the purview of crimes against humanity, as the prosecution did not mention that the attack was “widespread and systematic” against civilians.
Opposing the review petition, Prosecutor AKM Saiful Islam said the investigation officer of the case revealed that Kamaruzzaman was chief organiser of Al Badr force of greater Mymensingh district during the war and worked as camp commander of several camps.
Claiming that the attacks on civilians were made in a planned way, Saiful said, in some case, Kamaruzzaman was present on the scene of atrocities.