The International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday gave a last chance to the defence to produce their only witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam as they failed to produce their intended four witnesses yesterday.
The tribunal set August 3 for the defence to examine their witness. The three-member tribunal led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim on July 7 allowed four witnesses for the defence and ordered them to produce the witnesses yesterday, but they came up with a time petition seeking two weeks more to produce the witness.
Defence counsel Shishir Monir told the tribunal that they were facing difficulties to produce the witnesses.
He said they would produce only one defence witness instead of four who would exhibit all the defence documents and for that they need two weeks more.
“We will not seek an hour more in this regard in future”, he promised the tribunal.
Opposing the prayer, prosecutor Tapos Kanti Baul said the defence was seeking too much time.
Setting the date, Justice Enayetur Rahim warned the defence that if they fail to produce their witness on that day the tribunal would move to next stage and begin hearing on closing arguments by the prosecution.
The defence earlier submitted a list of 15 defence witnesses. However, the witness they are supposed to produce on the next day will be out of the list.
The tribunal asked the defence to give a written prayer in this regard.
Prosecution testified 19 witnesses against Azhar to prove six charges for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide during the liberation war in 1971.
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday adjourned the case proceedings against Syed Mohammad Qaisar, a state minister of HM Ershad, until July 20, due to sickness of the investigation officer (IO) of the case.
Yesterday was fixed for the cross-examination of Monowara Begum, the IO and the last prosecution witness of the case, but Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said she could not be produced due to illness.
Earlier, the case was adjourned for several times due to her illness.
Qaisar, the alleged founder of anti-liberation Qaisar Bahini, faces 16 charges including genocide committed in Brahmanbaria and Habiganj during the Liberation War in 1971. Qaisar, however, pleaded not guilty before the court.