The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday fixed December 23 for recording closing arguments of the case against expelled Jamaat-e-Islami member Abul Kalam Azad.
The tribunal made the decision after the state-appointed defence counsel failed to produce any defence witness or a list of witnesses for Azad, now on the run.
The case against Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, entered the final stage as only the verdict delivery would remain after the closing arguments are over.
The case is the second among five crimes against humanity cases pending with the Tribunal-2 to reach the closing arguments stage. Prosecution has already started placing their closing arguments in the case against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah on Monday.
However, at the other court, International Crimes Tribunal-1, the case against Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee has gone past the closing argument stage and is awaiting verdict delivery.
Azad's case is the only one at the tribunals being held in absentia of the accused.
The three-member Tribunal-2, led by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam, yesterday completed recording the cross-examination of the last prosecution witness Noor Hossain, also the investigation officer.
Closing the prosecution witnesses' testimony, the tribunal asked state-appointed defence counsel Abdus Shukur Khan about defence witness.
Shukur virtually repeated what he had said before the tribunal on December 5 that he could not submit any list of defence witness as he did not get any cooperation from Azad's family.
The tribunal indicted Azad with eight charges of crimes against humanity on November 4. A total of 22 prosecution witnesses had testified in the case.
In the crimes against humanity case filed against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, the prosecution continued placing their closing arguments at Tribunal-2 for the third day yesterday.
Mohammad Ali, the conducting prosecutor of the case, placed his argument on charge number two, out of the six against him, citing testimony of the fourth prosecution witness, poet Quazi Rosy.
According to charge number two, Quader Mollah and his cohorts had killed pro-liberation poet Meherun Nesa, her mother and two brothers at their home in Mirpur during the war in 1971.
The closing arguments are expected to resume today.
Tribunal-2 also recorded the cross-examination of Beauty Khanam, the eighth prosecution witness in the case against Abdul Alim, former minister of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's cabinet, before adjourning the case proceedings until December 27.
Meanwhile, the tribunal yesterday accepted the “unconditional apology” of the editor and a reporter of Bangla daily Bangladesh Pratidin for publishing a report that had speculated the date the verdict in Quader Mollah's case would be delivered.
The tribunal on December 4 issued a show-cause notice upon them in this regard.
Responding through their lawyer, they apologised unconditionally and did not try to justify their conduct.
The tribunal warned them not to publish report based on “imagination” regarding ongoing judicial proceedings.