The blockade enforced by BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance to realise non-party government during the ensuing national election virtually forced the International Crimes Tribunal-1 to adjourn the trial in connection with the 1971 war crimes on Tuesday.
As the tribunal resumed with Justice ATM Fazle Kabir, chairman of the three-member bench, Tarikul Islam, the defence counsel for accused Razakar commander Mobarak Hossain, prayed for a three-day adjournment on the ground of nonappearance of the principal counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena and the defence witnesses for testimony on account of blockade.
Meanwhile, the prosecution, who has been always blaming the defence counsel for impeding the trial process by not appearing before the tribunal on the pretext of hartal or blockade, submitted a petition seeking adjournment as they failed to produce its witnesses (PWs) in connection with the case of fugitive war crimes accused Zahid Hossain Khokon, who is being tried in absentia.
Hearing both the sides, the tribunal allowed the adjournment pleas moved by the defence and the prosecution.
The tribunal fixed December 8 for testimony by defence witnesses for Mobarak while December 9 for testimony by prosecution witnesses to prove the charges made against Khokon.
On April 23, the tribunal indicted detained Mobarak of Akhaura in Brarmanbaria, a commander of Razaker, a vigilante group of Pakistan occupation army in 1971, for committing the crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
On October 9, the tribunal indicted Zahid Hossain Khokon for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in absentia.
Septuagenarian Zahid faces 11 counts of charges that include loot, arson, repression, forcible conversion to Islam, shooting to death, rape, killing and mass killing in his area during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.