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Bagerhat War Crimes Tribunal sets Nov 5 for order on indictment

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Staff Reporter
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Monday set November 5 for order whether it would indict or dismiss the war crimes charges made against detained accused Serajul Huq alias Butcher Seraj and two others of Bagerhat.
Closing the hearing on the charge framing matter, tribunal chairman Justice M Enayetur Rahim fixed the date.
As the tribunal began its session, barrister Sarwar Hossain, the defence counsel for the two other accused -- Akram Hossain Khan and A Latif Talukder -- opposing the prosecution plea argued that the charges made against his clients were contradictory and not specific. So, the charges as proposed by the prosecution should be liable to be dismissed.
Rebutting the defence arguments, prosecutor Syed Sayedul Haque Sumon said as there are questions about the facts on the charges, it should be resolved through trial for ends of justice.
During the proceedings, police produced all the three detained accused in the dock amid tight security.
Earlier, advocate MA Hasan, the state defence counsel for accused Serajul Huq, had placed his arguments opposing the prosecution plea for framing charges against his client, terming vague the charges.
On September 15, the tribunal took cognizance of the offences of the 1971 war crimes against the trio accused as it found prima facie case for trial after examination of the formal charge, the investigation report, the papers, documents and evidence submitted by the prosecution in connection with the case.
A day before, on September 14, the prosecution submitted the formal charge to the tribunal registrar containing eight counts of offences against the three detained war crimes accused.
The charges include killing, genocide, loot, arson, rape, abduction, torture and conversion from one religion to another under duress during the 1971 Liberation War in Bagerhat district.
The accused had reportedly perpetrated the crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War as commanders of Razakar, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan occupation army, according to the prosecution.
ASP M Helal Uddin, investigation officer of the case, listed 65 prosecution witnesses (PWs) to testify before the tribunal against the accused to prove the war crimes charges.