None from the 19-member prosecution team turned up at the International Crimes Tribunal-1 yesterday to attend the scheduled hearing of a contempt of court allegation that the prosecutors themselves have brought against a Bangla daily for questioning the state lawyers' competence.
“No prosecutor is present... It's unfortunate and unexpected,” said the tribunal chairman, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, at the beginning of yesterdays' proceedings at 2:00pm.
Prosecutor Mohammad Ali filed the contempt petition against a reporter, the editor, and the publisher of the Kaler Kantho for publishing a report headlined “Odokkho prosecutioner kormokando druto bichar shesh korte badha" [prosecution's inefficiencies hindrance to speedy trial] on May 11.
The petitioner, Mohammad Ali, last evening told The Daily Star that he came to the prosecution office around 1:00pm. “It was not in my memory,” he said, and blamed his colleagues for the absence.
“Any other prosecutor could show up in the tribunal,” he said. "It is problematic that the chief prosecutor [Golam Arief Tipoo] has been old and cannot remember things.” Ali also said, “He [chief prosecutor] could have handed over his responsibility to some other prosecutor for today.”
The tribunal adjourned the contempt petition hearing until October 30.
A similar incident took place on February 27 when no prosecutor attended the tribunal during the hearing of a contempt petition against New York-based rights body Human Rights Watch.
Meanwhile, the tribunal yesterday adjourned the hearing of another contempt petition, filed against Fakhrul Islam, the lawyer for war crimes convict Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
Regarding their absence, prosecutor Zead Al Malum said the date was fixed for the appearance of Fakhrul. “So, we didn't need to attend the tribunal.”
Fakhrul was arrested on November 20 last year and is now in police custody for his alleged involvement in leaking of the draft war crimes verdict against the BNP leader.
Fakhrul faces contempt allegations for asking the tribunal, through a petition in December 2012, whether it had learnt about the alleged Skype conversation between former ICT-1 chairman Justice Nizamul Huq and an expatriate legal expert, Ahmed Ziauddin.
The tribunal yesterday said they wanted to hear Fakhrul's version and hence adjourned it until October 30.