A Joint Press Release on Tribunal Chairman’s Recusal

21 Nov

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A Joint Press Conference

by

(1) Mr. Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Senior Advocate, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (2) Mr. Jamiruddin Sircar, Barrister-at-law, Senior Advocate, Former Speaker (3) Mr. Rafiqul Islam Miah, Barrister-at-law, Senior Advocate, Former Minister (4) Mr. Abdur Razzaq, Barrister-at-law, Senior Advocate, (5) Mr. Zainul Abedin, Senior Advocate, and (6) Mr. Md. Bodruddoza, Barrister-at-law, Secretary, Supreme Court Bar Association:

1. Today we are addressing the press on a matter of high public importance. Our concern is to maintain the independence, the impartiality and the dignity of the judiciary.

2. Mr. Justice Md. Nizamul Haque Nasim is a serving Judge of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. On 25th March 2010, he was appointed as Chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal, Dhaka. Under his chairmanship, the ICT has started proceedings for war crimes against two former Ministers of BNP and 5 leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, including two former Ministers.

3. Recently the Prosecution has submitted some documents from which it appears that Mr. Justice Nizamul Haque Nasim in 1994 (when he was an Advocate of the Supreme Court) was a member of the Secretariat of the People’s Inquiry Commission formed with a view to investigating into the alleged war crimes by the aforesaid leaders of BNP and Jamaat.

4. On 27th October 2011, the defence filed an application for the recusal of Mr. Justice Nizamul Haque on the ground of his involvement with the investigation of the self same matter of which he is now a judge. The defence case was that the involvement of Mr Justice Nizamul Huq in th e investigation in 1994 has been proved conclusively by the documents submitted by the prosecution. This very important contention of the defence has remained uncontroverted. On 13th November 2011, a day-long hearing took place before a two member Tribunal in the absence of the Chairman, Mr. Justice Nizamul Huq.

5. In support of their application, the defence relied upon the Constitution of Bangladesh, the oath of office of Supreme Court Judges, the Code of Conduct for Judges of the Supreme Court prepared by and under the authority of Article 96(4) of the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, (all of which has been adopted by Bangladesh), and relied upon various decisions of the superior courts, including one from the House of Lords. It was also shown from the prosecution documents that a number of the charged framed by the Tribunal against Maulana Sayedee were based on allegations made in a Report prepared from information/evidence collected by Mr. Nizamul Huq.

6. On 14th November 2011, the two member Tribunal in their judgment (without entering into the merits of the matter) left it to the “good conscience” of the Chairman as to whether he will recuse himself or not. The Tribunal refused to look into the question of bias of the Chairman, on the technical ground that as co-Members of the same Tribunal they lacked jurisdiction.

7. Although the Defence has made direct and specific allegations of bias against the Chairman of the Tribunal in its lengthy submission, the Tribunal DID NOT clear the Chairman of the allegations of bias. Instead, they have entrusted the responsibility on the Chairman to take a decision. This – we believe – is a right course of action taken by the Tribunal.

8. It was the expectation of the members of the Bar, irrespective of political opinions (we dare say that there is a consensus among the right thinking people of society) that Mr. Justice Nasim should resign from the post of Chairman of the Tribunal. Surprisingly, he has not. On the other hand, today, he sat in the Tribunal and passed an order on an application for review of the charge framing order prompting the counsels representing the Defence to walk out. This is not only unfortunate but unprecedented as well.

9. Mr. Justice Nasim is an honourable man. He is a Judge of the highest court of the country. Since admittedly, he was involved with the investigation of the alleged crimes committed by the leaders of the two main opposition parties, by applying all civilized norms, he should have recused himself immediately. He has no legal or moral authority to remain as Chairman. He is relying on a mere technicality to cling to the post of Chairman of the Tribunal.

10. We call upon Mr. Justice Nasim to resign and resign now. By clinging to the post of Chairman, he has polluted the fountain of justice, brought disrepute to the judiciary, shaken public confidence in the administration of justice – which will have far reaching, disastrous consequences not only in the administration of justice but to the country at large. Moreover, it will be highly prejudicial to the Prosecution, and a great embarrassment for the government. We fear in the coming weeks and months, the continuation of Mr. Justice Nasim will lead to a chain of unforeseen and unfortunate events.

11. We therefore finally make an impassioned plea to Mr. Justice Nizamul Huq to recuse himself immediately.

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2 Responses to “A Joint Press Release on Tribunal Chairman’s Recusal”

  1. syed A.Mansoor M saadi April 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    For the greater interest of the judiciary of Bangladesh justice Nasim should resign from the chairmanship of the tribunal. It would glorified his name and position.

    Instead if he continues people will take it otherwise, they will its a big connection with big power abroad.

  2. minhuz April 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    this is fabricated drama, so stop this court,

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