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Govt rejects plea for fresh trial at ICT-1

Trial resumes from where it stops : Quamrul

Staff Correspondent

State minister for law Quamrul Islam said on Thursday that the reconstituted International Crimes Tribunal would resume trial from where the previous judge had left it.
He said that the new chair of the tribunal might hear the already-concluded argument anew for his satisfaction and in that case the tribunal might take three to seven more days to complete the process, which would resume on December 17.
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 chairman Justice ATM Fazle Kabir on Thursday was appointed as chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 following the resignation of Justice Md Nizamul Huq amid controversies over his online conversation.
Nizamul was expected to pronounce verdict anytime soon in the case against the detained Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-amir Delwar
Hossain Sayedee, charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity committed during the War of Independence in 1971.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Moudud Ahmed and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdur Razzaq, also lawyers of the two parties, on Wednesday demanded that the trials be held afresh.   
Qamrul, however, dismissed the opposition requests as unacceptable, saying the resignation of ICT-1 chair would not linger the trial process.
Nizamul stepped down on Tuesday as the tribunal-1 chairman on the heels of media reports that he had conversations on Skype with Brussels-based Bangladeshi lawyer Ahmed Ziauddin. 
Justice Obaidul Hasan, a member of the tribunal-2, has been appointed chairman of the tribunal-2 and Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah, a High Court judge, on the other hand, has been appointed as a member of the tribunal-2. 
‘There is no chance to start the trial afresh. The Section 6 of the ICT Act clearly states that a judge can hear arguments afresh, but it is not compulsory. The trial will start from where it stopped as transfer of judges is a common incident,’ the state minister said replying to a query. 
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam also turned down the demand made by the BNP-Jamaat lawyers for reopening of all the cases pending with the International Crimes Tribunal -1 following the resignation of its chairman.  
‘I think there is no need for retrial of the war crimes cases which the tribunal’s chairman, Justice Md Nizamul Haq had already heard,’ said Mahbubey Alam at a discussion meeting at the National Press Club organised by Peshajibi  Sammanay Parshid to mark its eighth founding anniversary. 
Mahbbuey Alam also referred to the Section 6 (6) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 which reads, ‘A tribunal shall not merely by reason of any change in its membership or the absence of any member thereof from any sitting, be bound to recall and re-hear any witness who has already given any evidence and may act on the evidence already given or produced before it.’
The government’s top law officer also demanded punishment of those involved in hacking the Skype conversation between Justice Nizamul and the Bangladeshi expatriate in Brussels.

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