The prosecution has submitted a petition to the ICT-1 seeking steps to accept the recorded statements made by nine listed prosecution witnesses to the investigator as their testimonies against war crimes accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury sans cross-examinations.
Talking to UNB about the reasons behind the plea, prosecutor Sultan Mahmud Simon on Thursday said, “So far, we’ve produced 40 prosecution witnesses (PWs) before the tribunal for evidence against the accused. Now we don’t have the remaining eight listed PWs at hand except the investigator. Three of them, have died by the time while five others remained untraced for long.”
“As we’ve no alternative, we submitted the plea with the tribunal under section 19 (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 for speedy disposal of the case,” Simon said.
The ICT provision says: “A tribunal may receive in evidence any statement recorded by a magistrate or an investigation officer being a statement made by any person who, at the time of the trial, is dead or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which the tribunal considers unreasonable.”
Prosecutor Simon further said if the tribunal allows the plea, the designated investigation officer will be testified as the last witness against the front ranking BNP leader, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, MP.
The matter is likely to come up for hearing on May 26 (Sunday), added the prosecutor.
On April 4 last year, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 indicted Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, now in custody, for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
He faces 23 counts of charges under different provisions of section 3 (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, including genocide in collaboration with Pakistan occupation army, killing, extermination of Hindu minority groups, deportation, persecution and abduction in Chittagong district.
On November 14, 2011, the prosecution submitted formal charges against him to the tribunal on the basis of the investigation report, citing his involvement in various incidents of crimes against humanity, 42 years ago.
News source: UNB Connect
Image source: Priyo News