Tribunal Trying to Suppress a Whistle blower’s Report in The Economist?

6 Dec


The tainted trial of Professor Ghulam Azam, Saydee and other Opposition leaders by the so-called ‘International Crimes Tribunal’ established by the Awami League to settle scores with political opponents has now been exposed.
Apparently the judge in charge is now trying to suppress a whistle-blower’s report provided to the The Economist that the court proceedings have been contaminated because of his extensive communications with a clique directing the judiciary’s work.

Certified Copy of the Order of Tribunal: Tribunal_Order_Economist – Copy

Here are the Main News Items:

ICT issues notice on ‘The Economist’

BSS, Dhaka

The ICT-1 on Thursday issued a notice on the South Asia bureau chief and the chief editor of London-based ‘The Economist’ to explain why actions would not be taken against them for interfering in the ongoing war crimes trial and violating the privacy of a judge.

The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 directed them to reply within three-weeks.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq said he have regular conversations with international war crimes specialist Ahmed Ziauddin, now residing in Brussels, over e-mail and Skype on the war crimes trial.

But recently, he found out that his and Ziauddin’s email and Skype account got hacked.

The chairman on Wednesday received a phone call from a person who claimed himself as a journalist from ‘The Economist’.

He said that they (the publication) have all the records of the conversation between the tribunal chairman and Ziauddin.

“He (the caller) wanted to know about the current position of the trial in ICT,” the justice said.

The tribunal on Thursday passed the order saying no one can ask a presiding judge about an ongoing trial in his court and it is a serious offence.

The tribunal also directed it (The Economist) not to publish the record in any circumstances.

In its order, the tribunal said a copy of this order should be served to inspector general of police for probe into the matter.

ICT issues notice to The Economist

Dhaka, Dec 6 ( — The first war crimes tribunal has directed the UK-based The Economist to explain why punitive action should not be taken for interfering with the trial.

The International Crimes Tribunal – 1, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, directed the British newspaper’s chief editor, and its South Asia chief Adam Roberts to reply within three weeks why action should not be taken.

Tribunal Chairman Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq’s email had been hacked, which he realised about two or three days ago. In his order, the Chairman said that a caller from the Economist had asked him questions regarding his exchanges with an expatriate Bangladeshi regarding the trial.

The order said that this breach of privacy and engaging a judge amounted to interference with the proceedings and directed the British newspaper, which had claimed to be in possession of the emails and conversations, to keep his emails confidential.

The duo will have to reply within three weeks.

The order began noting that the Tribunal Chairman and the members were appointed to the tribunal under a new law, which the tribunal chief openly admitted was new to everyone.

Indeed the Chairman has said many times during the trials that this was a new law for the judges as well as the lawyers and as such the tribunal needed cooperation and assistance from everyone. “We are all learning” is an oft-heard phrase at the first tribunal.

The order mentioned that the court was working with the assistance of individuals within and outside the court for research and other purposes. Dr Ahmed Ziauddin, a Brussels-based academic, “an expert in International Criminal Law” has been one such person.

The order said that the Chairman would seek assistance from Ziauddin from time to time for judgements and orders at the other international crimes cases elsewhere in the world so that the tribunal could give a good order.

Most of this communication was limited mostly to Skype and emails. “Just two or three days earlier the Chairman found that his e-mail and skype accounts along with his computer has been hacked.”

Justice Huq received a call from the noted UK newspaper and the caller claimed to be in possession of the private material exchanged between Justice Huq and the Brussels-based expert and asked questions regarding this information that the Economist had gotten hold of.

This breach of privacy and asking a judge of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh questions amounted to interference with the trial process, said Justice Huq in his order.

Justice Huq said that Dr Ahmed Ziauddin’s privacy had also been compromised in a similar fashion — hacked email account — “which makes it clear that the the persons who are involved in disturbing the ongoing processes of his Tribunal are involved in this matter”.

The order then proceeded to mention that the Economist chief editor and its South Asia bureau chief were given three weeks to reply why action should not be taken against them.

The order also directed them to keep those materials secret and confidential. The tribunal cautioned that violation of this order would result in appropriate action. Although the order had the phone numbers in it, the judge said he would not mention them in court.

This order came in the middle of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s defence counsel Mizanul Islam’s closing arguments. The tribunal refrained from announcing a date for the judgement at the close of the day’s proceedings and said it would take time to consider the matter.


One Response to “Tribunal Trying to Suppress a Whistle blower’s Report in The Economist?”


  1. Doubt cast on ICT proceedings « Professor Ghulam Azam - December 7, 2012

    […] details can be found here at David Bergman’s blog  and here at ICT BD Watch. A scanned copy of the tribunal’s order can also be found at ICT BD Watch […]

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