Wartime footage shown at ICT
The International Crimes Tribunal yesterday was shown a series of video clips on the Liberation War of 1971 during the charge-framing hearing against former Jamaat-e-Islami kingpin Ghulam Azam.
The clips, presented by the prosecution, were picked from news reports aired in different international channels during the war and documentaries.
The footages include wartime reports by the American broadcasters CBS, NBC and ABC, an interview of martyred filmmaker and litterateur Zahir Raihan and a documentary on Mainuddin, an Al-Badr commander who has been staying in the UK since 1973.
More pieces of video clips on the battles between the coalition force and Pakistan, and the surrender of Pakistan forces too were screened at the tribunal.
The prosecution had earlier announced that the video clips would reveal the role of Ghulam Azam during the Liberation War. But none of the nine video clips presented yesterday mentioned anything about the former Jamaat chief, who was present in the dock.
Tajul Islam, one of the defence counsels for the former Jamaat chief, following the proceedings told reporters that the video footage did not prove any connection of Ghulam Azam to the atrocities committed during the war.
However, prosecutors Zead Al Malum and Rana Dasgupta at a press briefing told journalists that they did not show anything regarding Ghulam Azam due to “strategic” reasons.
The clippings were only a “trailer” of the things that would be presented in future, Malum said.
Ghulam Azam, 89, is facing charges on 62 specific crimes against humanity committed during the war. He is one of the front men who actively helped the Pakistani occupation forces' attempt to foil the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.
Apart from Ghulam Azam, six other Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and two BNP leaders are now facing war crimes charges at the tribunal.
However, following an appeal from the defence, the three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq yesterday passed an order saying that Ghulam Azam, due to his old age and ailments, would not have to be present during the court's proceedings in the future unless his presence is required.
The tribunal also fixed March 6 for hearing arguments from the prosecution, which has finished placing the formal charges against the former Jamaat chief.
It, however, fixed March 12 for hearing the arguments from defence counsels, who earlier appealed for more time to get prepared.