The other judgements have typically come within under a month of
trial conclusion. Azam was sentenced to 90 years in prison for conspiracy,
planning, incitement, complicity and murder during the 1971 Liberation War when
he headed Jamaat-e-Islami.
Tribunal chief, Justice A T M Fazle Kabir
acknowledged the speculation and apprehension centring around the delay in
delivering this significant judgement.
“There have been criticisms in the
media,” he said remarking that there may well be criticisms — as long as there
were no allegations or accusations.
The presiding judge of the
International Crimes Tribunal-1 said that Ghulam Azam’s case was distinct from
the others for two specific reasons. “There are no allegations that he was
physically present at any crime scene. And secondly, there are no allegations
that he actively directed the commission of war crimes.”
The judge said
that most of the evidence against Ghulam Azam was based on documents,
essentially news reports.
“It would have been better if the prosecution
had submitted more scholastic material like books, research paper or journal
Justice Kabir said that it was perhaps unwise to depend
entirely on news reports since they were written immediately after the event
without affording the journalist much time to think.
“Books and journals,
they are different. The authors get more time to reflect on the events and
research the matter, which make them more authentic,” observed Justice
“But the prosecution did not really provide us with much, in a
manner of speaking.” He also lamented about the inadequate reference material at
the tribunal saying that there was just one full volume of the authoritative
‘Muktijuddher Dolilpotro’ for both the tribunals, by way of an
The tribunal, he said, went out and collected relevant material
on its own. “We needed to satisfy ourselves. It was also necessary for a better
“This took us a long time. That is why it took us three
months to give the judgement,” Justice Kabir continued, “But we are still not
too satisfied with the documents we were able to collect.”
It took this
long only to enrich the judgement, the presiding judge told a packed courtroom
before he handed over to co-judge Justice Anwarul Haque who read the first part
of the judgement.