Toby Cadman spoke today at Columbia University, New York. This overview of the event:
“I spoke today at Colombia Law School along with Larry Johnson Adjunct Professor of Law and former UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, US Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues Stephen J. Rapp and Pam Singh, Senior Counsel at Human Rights Watch at the lunchtime lecture entitled “Protecting the Rights of the Accused In Domestic Trials for Atrocity Crimes”.
As part of my presentation I called for greater engagement by the UN and the international community in general. In particular I made the point that the process in Bangladesh required urgent international oversight as the trial process had clearly displayed that there was neither the will nor the ability for the trials to be conducted under international standards.
Pam Singh spoke of HRW’s role in monitoring the trials and the recommendations it had made, many of which had been ignored by the Government. In particular Pam Singh spoke that this was not a model that should be followed in the future and made the point that Bangladesh had missed a perfect opportunity to bring an end to impunity and become a model of justice elsewhere.
A full transcript of the presentations will follow in due course.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Colombia Law School, the Human Rights Institute and Rightslink who co-hosted this important event.”
The examination of prosecution witnesses has now ended, and despite a list of 2,939 witnesses willing to testify in defence of Ghulam Azam, the ICT has limited the number to 12. This clearly undermines the ability of the legal team to provide a robust defence, particularly as 16 witnesses were produced on behalf of the prosecution team. In addition, the tribunal rejected the petition for two expert witnesses for the defence, William Schabas, professor of International Law and Human Rights at Middlesex University and Jack Deverell, a former general with experience in Bosnia. No valid reason was given for this refusal by the court.
There has also been widespread speculation that the trial will be concluded by December 16th, Bangladesh’s ‘Victory Day’, thus providing more evidence that the trial has a foregone conclusion.