WAR CRIMES TRIAL
Verdict against Bachchu todayTapos Kanti Das
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 is set to deliver its first war crime case verdict against absconding accused Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu today.
The accused is an expelled Jamaat member from Faridpur.
January 21 would remain a historic and important day in the calendar of independent Bangladesh with the ICT-2 delivering the first war crimes case verdict.
The tribunal was set up to try suspects of crimes against humanity committed on the soil of Bangladesh during the war of independence in 1971.
Bachchu faces the verdict for offences punishable under Section 20(2) read with
section 3(1) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act of 1973.
Section 20(2) of the law stipulates, ‘Upon conviction of an accused person, the Tribunal shall award sentence of death or such other punishment proportionate to the gravity of the crime as appears to the Tribunal to be just and proper.’
Bachchu is known as Bachchu Razakar in Faridpur for his anti-liberation activities in the district.
‘The tribunal, as per section 20(1) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, today [Sunday] has ordered to include the case for delivering verdict in tomorrow’s [Monday] cause list. So it can be said that the verdict of the case will be delivered on Monday,’ the ICT registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud told reporters at a news briefing.
Section 20(1) of the act stipulates ‘The Judgment of a Tribunal as to the guilt or the innocence of any accused person shall give the reasons on which it is based: Provided that each member of the Tribunal shall be competent to deliver a judgment of his own.’
‘The ICT-2, after hearing of the closing arguments from the parties in the case of ICT-BD case no 5/2012, chief prosecutor versus Abul Kalam Azad Bachchu, kept the judgment pending,’ the registrar said.
He said it would be a historic and important day as one of the two ICTs is set to deliver the first verdict in a case of crimes against humanity.
On December 26, 2012, after hearing the closing arguments from the prosecution and state defence, the tribunal reserved the verdict against Bachchu saying it would be delivered any day.
‘Tomorrow’s [Monday] judgment will rightly reflect our expectations as we brought clear evidences and proof against Bachchu. We believe he would get conviction,’ chief prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu told reporters at a news briefing at the tribunal complex.
On December 26, prosecutor Haider Ali concluded his closing arguments demanding death sentence, the maximum punishment written in the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1971, for Bachchu.
He submitted that the prosecution proved all the charges against Bachchu beyond any shadow of doubt.
State defence Abdus Shukur Khan concluded his closing arguments demanding acquittal of his client.
Bachchu became the lone accused to face trial in absentia.
On October 7, the tribunal decided to try Bachchu in absentia and appointed a lawyer at state expenses to defend him since he became a fugitive to evade arrest.
On April 3, the tribunal had issued a warrant to arrest him.
In 1971, as a member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bachcu was a close associate of the then ICS president Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.
He was indicted for committing crimes against humanity in different areas in Faridpur district as a Razakar Bahini man and Al-Badr Bahini commander.
The tribunal examined 22 prosecution witnesses, mostly relatives and neighbours of victims who witnessed or came to know about the crimes the accused allegedly committed and the war crimes investigation officer who probed his case.
This is the only case in which the defence failed to produce a single witness to testify for the accused.
On July 29, 2012, the War Crimes Investigation Agency submitted its report against Bachchu to the prosecution.
The agency investigated the charges against the accused from April 10, 2011 to July 25, 2012.
Quoting intelligence sources, the investigation agency’s senior officer Sanaul Huq told a news conference on July 26, that Bachchu had fled to Pakistan via Nepal.
On October 21, the prosecution brought the formal charges against Bachchu in ICT-2 on 10 counts of crimes against humanity.
On November 4, the tribunal indicted Bachchu on eight charges of crimes against humanity for killings, murders, rape, abduction, confinement, torture, looting and arson.
On November 26, Bachchu’s formal trial began in absentia after the prosecution made its opening statement spelling out the charges against him.
comments powered by Disqus