Some significant changes in the rules of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) have been brought recently.
According to the amended rules, the Prosecutors may seek arrest warrant of the Tribunal against any person, if an investigation of crimes mentioned in the ICT Act, 1973 started against him, said Registrar of the Tribunal Md Shahinur Rahman.
Following the earlier rules, the Prosecutors could seek warrant arrest of that person, against whom a formal charge of the crimes mentioned in the act was formed.
At a briefing in the Tribunal, its Registrar disclosed the "International Crimes Tribunal Rules of Procedure (Amendment) 2010," published in a gazette on October 28.
Changes in 10 rules and two forms of the ICT rules of procedure were brought through the amendment.
The rules are: 2, 3, 9, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 59 and 66. The forms are: 3 and 4.
The main change is redefining the 'accused'. As per the amended rules, "Accused means the person against whom an investigation of offence under the act has been started."
The previous rule was that a person, against whom formal charges of crimes mentioned in the act are filed with the Tribunal, would be considered as an 'accused'.
The Tribunal could issue arrest warrant against any accused, if it feels so, the Tribunal's registrar said.
The Government may now nominate or assign a member of the Investigation Agency as Coordinator, stated the amendment.
As per change in sub-rule 3 of the rule 9, a copy of allegations brought against any person shall be provided him during the time of his arrest or later on. But before the change, the copy of allegations was supposed to provide during the time of arrest, not later.
A new sub-rule was added after the rule 9, allowing the Tribunal to issue a production warrant and direct a earlier arrested person to be detained in custody.
Two sub-rules were added after the rule 24 giving both the Tribunal and any member of the Investigation Agency to ask a first class judicial magistrate for recording confession of an accused and for recording statement of witness respectively. Earlier, only the Tribunal would hold such power.
Another change in rule 59 allowed the senior judge of the Tribunal to act as its Chairman in absence of the Chairman.
Some changes in the said two forms in light of the new definition of the word 'accused' and allowed the Tribunal to issue arrest warrant or production warrant against a person, against whom a probe of the said crimes was just started, whether a formal charge against him is formed or not.
However, the Tribunal earlier kept four senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami including its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami in jail following a petition of the prosecutors.
After that, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court Advocate Anisul Haque, who is also expert in criminal cases, said the arrest warrant of the Tribunal against Jamaat leaders was given not following rules properly.
He said the Tribunal could not issue such order against a person until a formal charge was formed against him.
The lawyers of the leaders also placed their submissions before the Tribunal questioning its jurisdiction of issuing the order and filed petitions to recall the order. The petitions are pending in the Tribunal.
The investigation agency has already started probe of the said crimes against BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Jamaat leader Mir Quashem Ali.
However, Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi is supposed to be produced before the Tribunal today.
Earlier in two times, the jail authorities didn't produce Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi before the Tribunal saying, "Sayeedi is too ill to produce before the court."