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Tribunal to order Aug 14 on Jabbar’s indictment

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Court Correspondent

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Sunday set August 14 for order whether it would indict fugitive war crimes accused Engineer Abdul Jabbar, former Jatiya Party MP from Pirojpur, on charges of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, fixed the date after hearing both the prosecution and the state-defence counsel for the fugitive accused.

Designated prosecutor Hrishikesh Saha proposed framing war crimes charges against Engineer Jabbar on five counts while state-appointed defence counsel M A Hasan opposed the prosecution plea terming ‘vague’ those allegations and prayed for discharging his client from the case.

During the hearing, prosecutor Hrishikesh Saha apparently failed to satisfy the tribunal with legal interpretations whether the Peace Committee (collaborator of the Pakistan junta) comes under the purview of the auxiliary force and it could carry out the responsibility of the auxiliary force, and whether the charge of converting forcibly a group of Hindu people to Muslims comes under the nomenclature of genocide.

After exercising all the legal procedures, including the last part of the appointment of state defence counsel for the fugitive accused, the tribunal on July 8 fixed today (Sunday) for charge hearing in absentia.

According to the Mathbaria Police Station, the accused is out of the country for long.

On May 11, the prosecution officially submitted to the ICT Registrar the proposed charge accusing engineer Jabbar of perpetrating the crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.

The prosecution pressed five counts of war crimes charges against the former Jatiya Party MP, believed living in the USA now.

On April 29, after working for over 11 months, the investigation officer (IO) of the case ASP M Helal Uddin submitted the investigation report to the prosecution.

The IO of the case also submitted a list of 44 prosecution witnesses to prove the charges as proposed against Jabbar.

IO Helal Uddin found Jabbar’s involvement in crimes like killing, genocide, arson, looting and forcefully converting many Hindus to Muslim in then Mathbaria thana of Pirojpur during the war. Jabbar was made chairman of local thana Peace Committee (collaborator) and he organized Razakar outfit in Mathbaria, according to the investigation report.

Octogenarian Jabbar of Khetachhira in Mathbaria was the vice-chairman of Jatiya Party. He has remained absconding since 2009.

Jabbar joined the then Muslim League through his father-in-law, Arshed Ali, who was an influential Muslim League leader. Later, he joined the Jatiya Party of Gen (retd) HM Ershad and was twice elected Member of Parliament with Jatiya Party tickets in 1986 and 1988.