The International Crimes Tribunal-2 on Tuesday adjourned for Wednesday half-way through the defence case summing-up arguments following a time plea as moved by the counsel for war crimes accused SM Qaiser, former state minister during HM Ershad’s military rule.
The adjournment came minutes after the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan, resumed after the lunch break.
Before resuming his summing-up arguments covering eight charges exhausting four days, defence counsel SM Shahjahan all of a sudden moved a time plea for homework over the arguments on the remaining eight charges for ‘ends of justice’.
Allowing the defence plea, the tribunal, however, asked the defence counsel to finish their summing-up arguments by tomorrow (Wednesday).
During the trial proceedings, accused Qaiser, now on bail, was present in the tribunal.
On February 2 this year, the tribunal indicted Syed Mohammad Qaiser for his involvement in crimes against humanity, including genocide in 1971 Liberation War.
On August 5, 2013, responding to a petition, the tribunal granted Qaiser bail, subject to conditions, on medical and humanitarian grounds.
Septuagenarian Qaiser, a turncoat politician, was arrested on May 21 last year in connection with the war crimes case.
On November 14, 2013, after perusing the formal charge with 16 counts of offences submitted by the prosecution and the relevant documents, the tribunal took cognisance of the formal charge as it found prima facie case against the accused under sections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
According to the investigation agency, after the independence of Bangladesh, Qaiser, a former Pakistan Convention Muslim League activist, entered politics by joining BNP and subsequently became the president of Habiganj BNP.
Later, he quit BNP to join Ershad’s Jatiya Party and became state minister for agriculture in 1989. According to information, he lately joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Col (retd) Oli Ahmad.
Qaiser, as a local Peace Committee leader during the Liberation War, had formed a vigilante group ‘Qaiser Force’ after his name comprising 500-700 of his trusted men in Habiganj and committed crimes against humanity, including genocide, in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation army.
At the latter part of the Liberation War, he had fled to London and returned home after the August 1975 political changeover.