Nizami’s trial finally ends
The war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami has finally ended as prosecution yesterday completed their rebuttal of defence’s argument at the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
Prosecutor Tureen Afroz sought capital punishment for Nizami after giving rebuttal of the legal points raised by defence in the case.
Pointing out how Nizami’s speech had incited “reasonable members of Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), Razakar and Al-Badr”, Tureen said his speeches were like waving red cloth before a mad bull.
On November 13, the three-member tribunal led by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir with member judges Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Anwarul Haque kept the case waiting for verdict.
The tribunal in an extraordinary move drew conclusion to the case against the backdrop of continuous failure of the defence to appear before the court. It also gave the defence an opportunity to place the rest part of their argument.
Nizami is facing 16 war crimes charges for his alleged involvement in the crimes against humanity and genocide during the Liberation War in 1971.
The defence in their argument said incitement to genocide was the only recognised international crime until 1973 and it was not recognised as an independent or inchoate offence under the international law.
Incitement could not have been committed by the speeches delivered by Nizami in the four occasions mentioned in the charges.
The statements given by Nizami to ICS members on August 03, 1971 at Chittagong Muslim Institute showed his ‘patriotism’ towards an ‘undivided Pakistan’.
Nizami’s address to the ICS members at the Arts Building on September 08, 1971 was nothing but his expression of hatred towards India.
His address to the members at the Jessore district Razakar headquarters on September 10, 1971 was merely a scholarly interpretation of the Holy Qurán.
The defence admitted that Nizami was the chief of ICS but they also claimed that the prosecution could not produce any evidence to prove that he was also the chief of Al-Badr.
Prosecutor Tureen told the tribunal that the incitement has long been recognised as an independent offence in common law countries.
She furnished her claim showing the example of a number of cases filed in the UK where incitement was shown as an independent offence.
Explaining Nizami’s motive which was a benign one according to defence, the prosecutor said motives of the accused are immaterial in assessing his intent and criminal responsibility.
Quoting from the observation of ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) Appeals Chamber in Dusan Tadic case, she said, “Under customary law, ‘purely personal motives’ do not acquire any relevance for establishing whether or not a crime against humanity has been perpetrated.”
She said as per the ‘Principle of Text and Context Argument’, the accused had committed incitement through his alleged speeches.
“We should understand who was he? To whom he was addressing? What was the mental state of the audience?” said Tureen.
He [Nizami] was a popular Islamic student leader. The audience was the ‘reasonable members of ICS, Razakar and Al-Badr’, who had committed and assisted Pakistani occupation army in committing crimes against humanity and genocide.
She then explained how Nizami’s speech had influenced the members.
There is an easy way to understand the effect — how the then newspapers had published reports of the said four occasions. “My lord, I will request you to see the reports in The Daily Sangram which prosecution had submitted,” said Tureen.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution referred to a relevant section of the book “Sectarianism and politico-religious Terrorism in Pakistan” by Musa Khan Jalazai, where Nizami was shown the chief of Al-Badr.
The section reads, “The decision to join Al-Badr and Al-Shams was taken at the time by Motiur Rahman Nizami, Jamaat’s Nazim-i-Ala (president of student wing), who was stationed at Dacca University.”
Yesterday, defence again sought time to reply the rebuttal of prosecution but the tribunal did not entertain the defence’s request and asked them to submit their reply, if any, in writing.