Justice Sinha discloses his role in 1971

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Date : Thursday, 11 September 2014
Author : Ahmed Zayeef
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//’I myself worked for the Pakistani Army, but at night I passed down information to the freedom fighters,’ the judge says //

During the hearing in war criminal Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s appeal case yesterday, presiding judge of the four-member Appellate Division bench Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said he had been a member of the infamous Peace Committee during the 1971 Liberation War.

Also known as Justice SK Sinha, the judge said he used to pass information to the freedom fighters in the nights.

For the first time since independence, as there is no such record available, a judge sitting in a court has revealed his role and affiliation with the anti-liberation force.

Leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League and other parties formed Peace Committee to collaborate with the Pakistani occupation forces shortly after beginning of the war that killed around 30 lakh people and when over 2.5 lakh women violated.

According to records, formation of the Peace Committee was initiated in consultation with high officials of Pakistani Army after the launch of the barbaric crackdown on unarmed Bangalees on March 25 night in 1971.

At one point of the 111-minute proceedings, the 14th day of the case, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam argued on charge number one against Kamaruzzaman. Mahbubey said: “The defence questioned how Badiuzzaman, being a freedom fighter, could take shelter in the house of Ahmed Member [father-in-law of martyred Hasanuzzaman -Badiuzzaman’s brother] who was proven to be a member of the Peace Committee.”

At that time, Justice Sinha said: “It may happen. There was a situation during the war when in every family if one was an Awami League supporter, another was pro-Pakistani. I myself was a member of the Peace Committee.”

After saying this, the judge looked at Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah sitting next to him with a smile. “To save life,” Justice Wahhab laughed.

The attorney general then said: “I personally know a Hindu family in Mymensingh that converted to Islam during the Liberation War.”

Justice Sinha again said: “I myself worked for the Pakistani army, but at night I passed down information to the freedom fighters.”

Justice Hasan Foez Siddique said: “By enlisting as razakars, many people gave their arms to the freedom fighters.”

Justice Wahhab mentioned: “Justice Krishna Debnath’s fathe too, became a Muslim. It appeared in the newspaper.”

The court broke for lunch at 11am.

The bench started the hearing at 10:07am. Mahbubey continued the argument he started on Tuesday on charge number one.

The court quizzed the AG about Makbul Hossain, from whom prosecution witnesses Fakir Abdul Mannan and Dr Md Hasanuzzaman heard about the incident (Badiuzzaman’s abduction and killing) and why the prosecution had failed to note eyewitness Makbul’s statement.

Justice Sinha said: “We will mention in our judgement that no one works here prosecutors in the war crimes tribunal. If you do not have evidence, how will you give an explanation?”

Justice Wahhab observed: “The way the sixth prosecution witness [Hasanuzzaman] described, it seemed that he witnessed the incident. But in fact, it was hearsay. Is it natural?…”

Justice Sinha said: “Makbul Hossain is the main witness and he is alive. You did not give any explanation as to why you did not put him on the stand. What did your prosecution team do?”

In response, Mahbubey said that the prosecution would not be destroyed by not using Makbul as witness.

On hearing this, a frustrated Justice Sinha said: “I am really shocked to see your condition. Why do you allow such incompetent prosecutors? Bring in some competent persons. You are feeding them well, but they do not work. They will just sit idle!”

Mahbubey said that Makbul has changed.

“You should have said he has changed his mind,” Justice Sinha said.

Justice Wahhab said: “Both witnesses mentioned that Makbul witnessed the incident. If Makbul isn’t there, where will you stand??”

Justice Sinha further said that these prosecutors should pay attention here in court as they are paid to do their job.”

The AG said: “Yesterday I requested one of the prosecutors to assist me. He is not here now. My lord, this case was conducted [at the tribunal] by a young lawyer who had no experience. He was recently removed.”

Justice Wahhab said: “I see! He was a junior to former law minister Shafique Shaheb…Those who I have not seen in court all these years, are now prosecutors.”

Justice Sinha told Mahbubey: “Only favouritism will not work…You can take relatives, but you should place competent people in the prosecution.”

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Mahbubey sought adjournment for two days since he was not prepared for the hearing and his assistant was absent. It irked the bench and Justices Sinha and Justice Wahhab took a swipe at him. The bench also criticised the International Crimes Tribunal prosecution for their incompetency.

After the lunch break, Justice Wahhab pointed out that all the certified copies of the tribunal carried the Supreme Court monogram.

Justice Sinha said: “The Supreme Court holds its own position. You cannot term the tribunal the Supreme Court by using five judges of the High Court.”

The court on Tuesday also slammed the defence for not submitting the written argument it had asked for earlier. Kamruzzaman’s counsel SM Shahjahan submitted the document yesterday as per the court’s order.

Justice Wahhab told Shahjahan showing the copy: “Here is your synopsis. You showed the evidence here but not the law points. I have pointed them out.”

Shahjahan said that a submission would be made with the reply.

The attorney general moved on to argue charge number two and continued arguing on the third charge.

At the end of the proceedings at 1pm, the court did not mention when it would resume the hearing.


Uploaded By : International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF)
This item has been recorded here as part of ICSF's Media Archive Project which is a crowd sourced initiative run by volunteers, a not for profit undertaking to facilitate education and research. The objective of this project is to archive media items generated by different media outlets from around the world - specifically on 1971, and the justice process at the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. This archive also records items that contain information on commission, investigation and prosecution of international crimes around the world generally. Individuals or parties interested to use content recorded in this archive for purposes that may involve commercial gain or profit are strongly advised to directly contact the platform or institution where the content is originally sourced.

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