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Justice Nizam resigns as ICT chair
War crimes tribunal

Justice Nizam resigns as ICT chair

The War Crimes Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Mohammed Nizamul Huq resigned on Tuesday in the wake of a controversy over his reported Skype conversation with an expatriate war crimes expert. Justice Huq’s Skype conversation that leaked to the press touched off controversy.
Government sources confirmed, Justice Nizamul Huq tendered his resignation.
“But he will continue to serve as a High Court judge,” the Law Minister said. Justice Huq himself also confirmed his resignation.
One of the tribunal’s members, Justice Anwarul Haque had arrived in the morning while the Chairman had apparently called in sick. Another tribunal member, Justice Jahangir Hossain, arrived during lunch recess and when the tribunal began its proceedings the Chairman remained conspicuously absent fuelling rumours that he had resigned.
A section of lawyers demanded the resignation of the justice after the Daily Amar Desh published the reported conversation with a Brussels-based academician Ahmed Ziauddin.
Huq was serving as a High Court Judge before being appointed Chairman of the three-member International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Mar 25, 2010.
Later, the government constituted a second tribunal for hastening the trial of six persons, four belonging to Jamaat and two t the BNP, charged with alleged war crimes in 1971.
Before Justice Nizamul Huq, International Crimes Tribunal-1 judge AKM Zahir Ahmed resigned on Aug 28 on health grounds. He was replaced by Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim of the High Court.
Tribunal member Justice Jahangir Hossain who had featured in one of the conversations soon after his appointment to the International Crimes Tribunal – 1, said, “I have been honest all my life. I remain honest. And I will remain honest.”
The tribunal had fixed on Monday that it would give an order in response to a plea seeking that the newspaper authorities be called to court and asked to explain the exposé.
The conversation between Justice Huq and Ziauddin, as published in Amar Desh, included mention of Justice Jahangir Hossain where the Chairman referred to his member as being ‘corrupt’ and also mentioned the unflattering nickname he is said to be known as.
The first tribunal did not sit during the first half of the day and proceedings began after the lunch recess with two tribunal members. Justice Hossain presided over saying that the Chairman had been taken ill and thus could not come.
Prosecutor Syed Haider Ali had pleaded with the tribunal to summon Amar Desh authorities and seek their explanation for publishing the private conversation between the tribunal chief and his researcher who is also an international law expert.
Seeing that the prosecutor was absent, Justice Hossain enquired after him. The other prosecutors said that Haider Ali was also ill. “He was the one who had brought the newspaper to our notice. We had a few more queries, it would have been good if he were here,” said the judge.
He then broached the subject and addressed the content of Justice Huq’s conversation that everyone had avoided thus far.
“I have a few words to say about this thing. But it is very difficult to speak about it,” said the senior judge of the day.
Justice Hossain said he had also been mentioned in the conversation. “It appears that people don’t really have much idea about the kind of person I am.”
He said that even Islam dictated that one should not speak of others without full knowledge of that person and added, “But those apparently knowledgeable people often speak ill of others and that seems to be quite in vogue nowadays.”
He said, “My path has been full of struggles. It was not an easy one. And I know it will remain difficult in future as well.”
Justice Hossain then went on to say that there were people who spoke ill of others and, “Their 100 percent lies sometimes perplex me but they never frustrate me.”
He ended his solemn address to the court, with the defence side completely empty, saying, “My name is Jahangir Hossain. It is so in the certificate. When I was appointed to the High Court it was Justice Jahangir Hossain,” and added after a pause, “and only Jahangir Hossain.”
The judge said that the court would issue an order on Thursday. “The Chairman is not here. And we believe that it should be the Chairman who delivers it.”
He said that since the Chairman was ill, he did not know what might happen the next day and fixed the date of order on Thursday.


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