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Trials delayed as ICT 1 has no chairman

Tapos Kanti Das

Trial in war crimes cases pending with the International Crimes Tribunal 1 is being delayed as the government is yet to reconstitute the tribunal after the retirement of its former chairman.
Justice ATM Fazle Kabir retired as the chairman of the three-member tribunal on December 31, 2013 after attaining his 67 years of age.
‘We are yet to make a decision [on the appointment],’ the new law minister, Anisul Huq, told New Age in the past week.
Earlier on January 19, the minister, after meeting the chief justice, Md Muzammel Hossain, told reporters that a new chairman of the tribunal would be appointed soon.
‘We have been facing challenges for early disposal of the cases because of non-cooperation from the defence, who frequently seek time and file petitions on different excuses to delay the trial process, but now we are depending on executive decision of the government for the reconstitution of the tribunal,’ said prosecutor Tureen Afroz.
As the tribunal has no chairman now, the two other judges — Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Anwarul Haque — are deferring the hearings in the pending cases sitting in their chambers, she said.
‘As a result,’ she said, ‘the trials are now being delayed.’
In the tribunal, the case against Jamaat-e-Islami amir Matur Rahman Nizami on charge of crimes against humanity has been awaiting verdict since November 13, 2013.
The war crimes cases against detained Brahminbaria local Awami League leader Mobarak Hossain, Jamaat nayeb-e-amir Abdus Subhan, assistant secretary general ATM Azharul Islam and fugitive Nagarkanda municipal mayor Zahid Hossain Khokon are now pending with the tribunal.
Contempt motions against Human Rights Watch, private television channel ‘Channel 24’, Bangladesh Bar Council vice-chairman Khandker Mahbub Hossain and condemned war crimes accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s lawyer Fakhrul Islam are also pending with the tribunal.

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