The email and Skype accounts of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 chairman have been hacked. The Economist has in its possession the correspondence between the tribunal chief and a Brussels-based legal expert.
Justice Md Nizamul Huq, chief of one of the two tribunals formed to try those who committed crimes against humanity in 1971, yesterday said he came to know of this alarming developments two or three days ago.
Then on Wednesday night, he received a phone call. The person on the other side claimed the call was from the London-based weekly and the paper possessed the record of his Skype conversation with International Criminal Law expert Dr Ahmed Ziauddin.
At one stage of closing arguments by defence counsel of Delawar Hossain Sayedee yesterday, the chairman said he had occasionally discussed with Dr Ahmed, a Bangladeshi living in Brussels, the developments on International Criminal Law.
The tribunal yesterday served a notice on two journalists of The Economist -- Chief Editor Rob Gifford and South Asia Bureau Chief Adam Roberts.
It asked the duo to reply within three weeks why proceedings under 11(4) of International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 shall not be taken against them.
The tribunal asked The Economist to keep secret the information which it had gathered from the chairman's Skype and email accounts. Otherwise, proper action will be taken.
The court also ordered sending copies of the directives to the inspector general of police and the chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for necessary action.
Issuing the order, Justice Nizamul said the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 is a new law. To understand the law, it is necessary for the judges to look into the process and orders of different tribunals and consult experts.
He has had privileges of consulting expatriate Bangladeshis, including Dr Ahmed.
“Yesterday [Wednesday] at about 10:00pm, the chairman received a telephone call from +919810016662 [Indian number],” the order read.
The person on the phone said the call was from The Economist and “the conversation between the chairman and Dr Ahmed Ziauddin is in their possession”.
“The caller also asked the chairman some questions regarding this information,” the order read.
“By questioning him over the telephone, the person on the other side has also involved himself in speaking with the chairman.” This is not allowed under the law, it added.
Justice Nizamul mentioned the email and Skype accounts of Dr Ahmed had also been hacked and all the materials he had received from the expert were also in the paper's possession.
Terming it “a serious breach of privacy”, he said the persons involved in disturbing the ongoing processes of the tribunal have links to the hacking.
Breach of privacy through hacking in the pursuit of stories has been discussed around the globe, especially in the United Kingdom, for the last two years.
Last year, the UK launched an inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Leveson, into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News International phone hacking scandal.
The scandal, which has led to the closure of the News of the World, halted Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid, and prompted the arrest of several key figures.