WAR CRIMES TRIAL
ICT declines AzharÃ¢€™s privileged communication with lawyers
Tribunal closes cross-examination of a witness against YusufNew Age Online
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Monday turned down a defence plea seeking privileged communication between detained Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam and his defence counsels.
The tribunal, allowing another defence plea, also deferred the date of hearing Azhar’s indictment review application to December 5.
Azhar was indicted on November 12 on six counts of crimes against humanity committed in Rangpur during the Liberation War in 1971.
On the outset of the day’s proceedings, Azhar’s junior counsel Syed Md Rayhan submitted that three defence counsels needed to communicate with their client to prepare defence case.
He submitted that chief defence counsel Abdur Razzaq would place his submission on the indictment review application and he could not appear before the tribunal because of his personal difficulties.
Rayhan sought an adjournment for two days of the hearing.
Prosecutor Tapos Kanti Baul opposed the adjournment plea and submitted that the both the adjournment plea and the indictment review petition should be declined.
The tribunal then adjourned the hearing until December 5, a date that was earlier fixed to begin opening statement by the prosecution.
Earlier on July 18, the prosecution submitted the formal charge on six charges of crimes against humanity against Azhar. The tribunal on July 25 took the charges into its cognizance.
Meanwhile, ICT-2 on Monday again closed the cross-examination of a prosecution witness against Jamaat leader AKM Yusuf.
The tribunal closed the cross-examination of the 13th prosecution witness, Sudhangshu Mandal, as no conducting defence lawyer for Yusuf appeared before the tribunal to cross-examine him.
This is for the second time in Yusuf’s case that the tribunal closed cross-examination of a prosecution witness.
Earlier on November 25, the tribunal closed the cross-examination of the 12th prosecution witness, Abjal Hossin, on the similar ground.
Yusuf was in the dock.
He is facing the trial on 13 counts of crimes against humanity including genocide, murders, arson attacks, abduction, torture in confinement, forced conversion of Hindu people to Muslim and deportation committed at different places in Bagerhat during the liberation war in 1971.
On the outset of the day’s proceedings, a junior lawyer for Yusuf, Gazi MH Tamim appeared before the tribunal and sought an adjournment for one day on the ground of personal difficulties of his senior colleague, Mizanur Rahman.
The tribunal rejected the plea and asked Tamim to cross-examine the witness but Tamim denied.
The tribunal then closed the cross-examination of the witness and asked the prosecution to produce its next witness for examination.
Later, the 14th prosecution witness, Babul Kumar Mistri, 49 or 50 testified against Yusuf.
Later Tamim began his cross-examination.
The conducting defence lawyers for the accused persons facing war crimes charges generally keep themselves off from attending the court proceedings on the days of general strike or blockade programmes, citing ‘personal difficulties’ or ‘unavoidable circumstances’ as reasons.
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