The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Sunday expressed its surprise after the conclusion of deposition by a freedom fighter prosecution witness to prove the charge No. 5 against war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami.
“After perusing the record, we didn’t find any such specific charge against the accused,” said the tribunal.
Designated prosecutor Mohammad Ali failed to give an appropriate reply to this pertinent question by the tribunal, rather he started faltering.
The prosecutor later told the tribunal that he would make his submission in this regard after a through verification.
Besides, after the closing of the deposition by freedom fighter PW-20 Tahurul Alam Mollah, the tribunal also turned a deaf ear to the prosecutor’s plea urging to put on record the emotional state of mind of the PW while recalling the horrific killing of his father Moazzem Hossain by sword at a coal depot after dragging him (Moazzem) from a nearby mosque in Iswardi, Pabna on April 17 during the 1971 Liberation War in presence of accused Nizami and his associates.
“Why didn’t you draw attention in time?” asked the tribunal. Facing the awkward moments, prosecutor Mohammad Ali put the ball to the tribunal’s court saying there are examples of the court doing it on its own initiative.
Advocate Mohammad Ali is the third choice by the Chief Prosecutor to conduct the Nizami case. Earlier, two other prosecutors -- Altab Uddin Ahmed and Mir Iqbal Hossain -- were dropped from conducting the case for failing to perform their professional responsibilities.
During his deposition, eyewitness Tahurul recalled, “My father was killed by hacking with sword after consultation with a group of people involving accused Nizami, Maulana Ishaq, Maulana Yusuf and others present in front of a ‘torture cell’ set up at an abandoned house nearby a mosque keeping an army van and a white jeep standby.
“I had seen the brutality of my father’s killing from a hideout in a nearby bush,” he said, adding that during the killing some Biharis were also present on the spot.
The PW-20 said, “Earlier, on April 13, 1971, I came to know that my maternal uncle Habibur Rahman was also killed at the same place and in the same manner by the Pakistan occupation army in association with Nizami and his associates,”
Before concluding his deposition, PW Tahurul identified Nizami in the dock.
During the cross examination by the defence counsel, Tahurul told the tribunal that he did not take any legal step to file a case about the killing of his father till date after the independence of Bangladesh.
The cross-examination remains incomplete.
Earlier, defence counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined PW-19 Abu Sama Fakir, a Liberation War hero.
The Jamaat chief is being tried on charges of involvement in murders and torture of unarmed people along with hatching conspiracy, planning, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
Also the president of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, Nizami faces 16 counts of charges based on 16 separate incidents of crimes against humanity, in which at least 600 unarmed people were killed and 31 women raped during the Liberation War.
On December 11, 2011, the prosecution submitted the formal charge against Nizami before the tribunal.
On January 9, 2012, the tribunal took cognizance of the formal charge against Nizami for facing the trial of crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War.
On May 28, 2012, the tribunal indicted the Jamaat ameer for committing the 1971 crimes against humanity.
Nizami, detained in connection with other criminal case, was shown arrested on August 2, 2010, in connection with the war crimes case.