The International Crimes Tribunal has set Dec 8 for hearing its contempt of rule against the US-based Human Rights Watch.
A three-member tribunal led by ATM Fazle Kabir gave the order
on a petition by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The International Crimes
Tribunal (ICT) has set the same day for issuing order on its rule against the
Economist on the alleged Skype conversation.
There was a lawyer on behalf
of the HRW, but there was none on the Economist’s behalf.
lawyer Md Asaduzzaman prayed for eight weeks from the tribunal, an appeal it
The tribunal, on the other hand, extended the time for the
Economist suo moto.
The tribunal had ruled on Sep 2 why it should not
bring a contempt of court rule against the human rights
HRW’s board of directors, its Asia director Brad Adams and
associate Storm Tiv had been asked to explain within three weeks.
Azam was sentenced to 90 years in prison on Jul 15 for his role during the
nation’s Liberation War.
Judges said they had spared him a death sentence
considering his age and physical condition.
In a statement the following
day, the HRW said the government had ‘ignored warnings’ that ‘the law and the
trial process were deficient’.
The statement titled ‘Bangladesh: Azam
Conviction Based on Flawed Proceedings’ claimed the tribunal had conducted an
investigation on behalf of the prosecution, something the existing laws did not
The judges were not neutral in delivering the verdict and the
tribunal had failed to protect defence witnesses, it said.
statement said changes had been made in the trial court panel and there was not
enough evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
body believes the tribunal lacked evidence to convict the former Jamaat-e-Islami
The prosecution on Aug 20 moved the tribunal seeking ‘contempt of
court’ proceedings against the rights body.
Tureen Afroz, Sultan Mahmud
Simon and Tapas Kanti Bal said the HRW statement questioning the Ghulam Azam
verdict and the role of the tribunal was aimed at ‘eroding people’s confidence
in the tribunal’.
The prosecution alleged that the rights group had taken
a similar stand in several other countries including Afghanistan and
The prosecution claimed the ‘partial, made up and baseless’
statement had been issued ‘intentionally’ to hold the tribunal judges in
On the other hand, the tribunal had ruled against the Economist
on Dec 6 last year for publishing an alleged Skype conversation between
expatriate legal expert Ahmed Ziauddin and ICT-1 Judge Nizamul Huq and
questioning the judge about it.
The court had asked as to why steps
should not be taken against the Economist for hindering the trials of crimes
against humanity that took place during the War of Liberation.
controversy, the tribunal’s chief judge resigned from his post.
defence and the prosecution of the Economist finished their arguments on July
The Economist’s defence lawyer Barrister Mustafizur Rahman said that
day that nowhere did the Bangladesh law say that journalists could not speak to
As such, the Economist had not committed any contempt of court,
Rahman had on March 25 responded in writing to the tribunal on
behalf of the Economist.
Earlier on Aug 27 and Sept 26, he did not turn
up at the tribunal and so the tribunal set Dec 8 for issuing its