Rostrum’s Law Review | ISSN: 2321-3787

Verdicts for Contempt of Court Procedures under international criminal jurisdiction: A Study with Reference to Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunals


Contempt of Court procedures are a relatively new concept in international criminal jurisdiction, especially in common law countries. Bangladesh is a common-law country; hence its international criminal tribunals have employed this approach to decide a number of cases. As the legal framework on contempt of court from the ICT-BD is marked through this paper in regards to two leading cases noticeable to the contempt of court proceeding, namely David Bergman’s case and Adam Roberts and another’s case, as well as several cases resolved by the ICT-BD where the tribunals heard the Prosecution and the contemnor.  The ICT-BD Act of 1973 permits contempt proceedings empowered to ensure punishment of individual a who deliberately disobedience before the court’s functioning. It is noted that there is no appeal’s rights against the conviction of convicted person existing the current ICT-BD Act regulations. The ICT-BD Act restricts freedom of expression while simultaneously granting extremely broad authority on the subject of court contempt actions. Thus, the question of whether the ICT-BD Act forbids exercising freedom of expression with violation of international standards of judicial contempt proceedings emerges. The statute of ICCPR and international criminal tribunals require appeal protection and freedom of expression, which is why the ICT-BD contempt individual was severely denied these rights. It is one of the procedural omissions listed in Section 11(4)’s description of the contempt of court process. These loopholes should be included in the freedom of expression and appeal provision as to the rights of the contemnor as Bangladesh is a common law nation. This research paper contrasts Bangladesh’s Tribunal process on contempt of court over the issue of the missing lines with previous international crimes tribunal cases. By adhering to the policies and practices of the international tribunals addressing unusual problem of contempt of court, the International Crimes Tribunals-BD should be tried protection of rights to a fair hearing. The research concludes by discussing how the current ICT-BD Act 1973 (as modified in 2009, 2012, and 2013) of the contemnor Person should be included into ICT-BD contempt of court procedures in order to provide rights to appeal and freedom of expression.

Keywords: International Criminal Tribunals; Contempt Court; ICT-BD; Freedom of Expression;  Constitution of Bangladesh;  the statute of ICCPR;  Administration of Justice.

[I] Introduction:

Since the beginning of those civilized countries’ judicial histories, the administration of justice has used a contempt proceeding as a technique of application to safeguard the judiciary and enforce and maintain the rule of law. In terms of international criminal law, particularly common law jurisdiction, the idea of contempt of court process is a relatively recent technique. International tribunals like Yugoslavia international tribunal, Sierra Leone special tribunal, International Criminal Court (ICC), and International Crimes Tribunals-BD support the number of cases involving contempt of court. After battling for nine months to be freed from the West Pakistani military personnel, which was the horror history of Bengali, Bangladesh framed the Act of 1973 to prosecute those who committed heinous crimes on 25 March 1971 named by Operation Searchlight to December 16, 1971. These crimes comprised on crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against peace. As a result, after 40 years, international crimes courts in Bangladesh were established in Dhaka in 2010 as well. However, such international crime tribunals across the world, ICT-BD Act, 1973 include section 11(4) concerning the court of contempt procedures to punish individual who abuses the court order.  In this situation court can be considered the offence of contempt court with imprisonment one year or fine five thousands or with both imprisonment and compensation.[1] Despite the fact that international criminal courts in Bangladesh adhere to the contempt of court rule and penalize the person responsible for the claimed violation, there is currently no formal legislation in effect. There were notable contempt cases dealt with by ICT-BD after the establishment of tribunals without an existing statutory law, along with a concluding contempt proceeding where the defendant was subjected to a summary trial process devoid of fair trial justice, including freedom of expression, and an appeal provision as to the defendant’s rights because Bangladesh is a common law country. However, a notable journalist, newspaper, and its representative, prominent lawyer, politician, and civil society faced contempt of court proceedings, including journalist David Bergman, Adam Roberts, and others, Bureau Chief, South Asia region  and Rob Gifford,  Chief editor of   `The Economist`.

Accordingly, the areas that have been debating the unframed contempt of court proceedings brought by ICT-BD are breaches the right to appeal and the freedom of expression . The statute of ICCPR , the UN charter of  UDHR , other international standards are discussed after a survey of the contempt court provisions, such as Section 11(4), that are eliminated from the current Tribunals Act 1973 or the incorporation provision of freedom of expression and appeals.

Further researchers read the article and examined at the two significant contempt of court cases: David Bergman, Adam Roberts, and others looked at the legality concept. I also look at how the international crimes tribunals in Bangladesh may guarantee justice and a fair trial for the cases involving judicial contempt.

Finally, what are the gaps and gray areas with existing amendment of the Act 1973 focused on section 11 of clause 4 concerning the contempt of court  that have been identified as not meeting international standards, and how does further ensuring fair trial justice extend to the area of the International Crime Tribunals’ contempt of court proceedings?

[II] What is the Contempt of Court:

Under Bangladesh’s current legal framework, contempt of court is not specifically defined. The use of the contempt of court principle has been governed by previous case law. Appellate Division of Supreme Court Bangladesh reviewed many judgments pertaining to contempt-related matters. Apex Court  were mentioned in Md. Abul Halim vs. Md. Tarique case also mention that deliberately disregarding of court’s order can be measured  to contempt of court proceeding.[2] The Phillimore Committee reported in 1974 that in order to avoid the obstruction, bias, and abuse of the administration of justice and to uphold the concept of the law of contempt.[3] The 1981 Contempt of Court Act was drafted by the UK Parliament in response to the Philimore Committee findings.[4] The Black Law Dictionary defines contempt as conducting the act which embarrass, hinder or obstruct  in the administration of justice.[5] Accordingly, West’s Encyclopedia of American Law concerning contempt of court states that deliberately disregarding the laws and regulations of the court or legislative authority.[6] Additionally, a claim of contempt of court was made against the parties, attorneys, employees of the court, witnesses, jurors, and others involved in the case inside or outside of the courtroom.[7]

[III] Bangladesh Contempt Court of Act 2013:

Prior to 2013, Bangladesh, a common-law country, lacked a self-enacting contempt of court legislation. But an apex court-passing judicial law addressing the contempt court violation followed the colonial contempt of court of 1926.  In 2013, it repealed the new contempt of court law named Contempt of Court 2013 instead of the Contempt of Court Act of 1926. Twenty (20) provisions make up Bangladesh’s newly drafted contempt court statute, including Section 2’s definition of legal words; Section 2(6) classifies contempt offenses; Section 2(8) describes different types of contempt; Section 4(1) says that if a publication is made in good faith and is true and accurate, Section 5 says that the freedom of the press is not violated; Section 6 says that the presiding judge of a lower court is not in contempt; Section 9 says that retaliatory action is not permitted; and Section 13 says the maximum penalty is six months of simple imprisonment, a fine, or both and section 19 says empower  to rules of procedures creating .[8] The Bangladesh Constitution, which includes freedom of expression in Article 39, conflicts with several contempt provisions, including those that were framed in the recent Contempt of Court 2013 Act. These provisions violate the constitution. In the Moinul Hosein v. Sheikh Hasian Wazed case, the Honorable Judge said that anybody who obstructs the court’s order or causes a commotion shall also be penalized. The court additionally declared that the right to free speech and the authority of the administration of justice should both be applicable to the contempt of court case.[9] In addition, a high court bench made up of Justice Quazi Rez-ul-Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain issued a ruling regarding the inclusion of eight sections in Contempt of Court 2013, explaining why some of those sections will not be declared ultra vires of the constitution.[10]

[IV] Contempt of the court of Bangladesh Constitution scenario:

In Bangladesh, there is no formal definition of contempt of court. However, Article 108 of the Bangladeshi Constitution serves as the official court record including the inherent power to pass orders to investigate or punishment for contempt of court offense. [11] In accordance with Article 108, the defendant may be investigated by Supreme Court of Bangladesh and punished accordingly. The court of record designation is also given to this one. This apex court issued a series of rulings detailing what constitutes a contempt of court crime, what constitutes a violation of that offense, and how to initiate contempt of court administration in the absence of a legislative law regulating contempt of court. The State noted in 35 DLR (AD) giving observation, the case of Moazzam Husain v. the state, apex Court judgment states that contempt of court  has no specific definition but against anybody disrespect, undermine and disregard the court will bring contempt court proceeding to protect administration justice.[12] Subsequently, Another decision of apex court of Bangladesh is that the case of Md. Abdul Halim Vs. Md. Tareque and Ors. In noted   63 DLR – that only deliberately disobedience of the court’s decision, Court considered a contempt proceeding against the individual.[13] Bangladesh Constitution guarantees citizens all right to freedom of thought and conscience and of speech and freedom of press which guaranteed by article 39(1)(2)(a)(b).[14]

[V] ICT-BD`s Contempt Court Act and Rules of Procedure:

         For individuals who misuse the tribunal’s legal process and defy the court order, likely ad hoc, hybrid, and international criminal tribunals, courts, and ICT-BD impose contempt of court proceedings under Section 11(4) of the Act 1973 and Sections 45 and 46 of the RoP- 2010. The ICT Act includes Section 11(4), which gives the tribunal the authority to penalize anybody who abuses and obstructs the tribunal’s process, criticizes a case that is still pending, or expresses hatred for or contempt for a tribunal’s members, or establishes contempt tribunals.[15]  In addition, the tribunal sentences the offender to five thousand takas in fines, simple imprisonment with a one-year extension, or both.[16]

The spirit of Section 11(4) of the ICT Act is modified by Section 45(1) of the RoP -2010. Include Section 46 in the RoP 2010 updating from 2011.[17] If a show cause notice is issued and the tribunal determines that the defendant is guilty under Section 11(4) of the ICT Act, Section 46(1) provides that the tribunal will take the defendant’s written justification into account.[18] In addition, pursuant to Section 46(2), the tribunal shall commence judgment in the case of an accused person found guilty under Section 20(2) of the Act, and with respect to the accused’s absence, surrender, or date of arrest, which first occur after the commencement of judgment, the punishment shall be imposed.[19]  Furthermore, RoP-2010, as revised in 2011, ensured the inherent authority of administration of justice regarding the tribunal’s contempt court action to serve the interests of justice and prevent misuse of the legal system under Section 46(A).[20]

[VI] International Crimes Tribunals` Bangladesh Contempt case:

ICT-BD handed down a noteworthy contempt judgment. Before Bangladesh  International Tribunal, numbers of journalists, defense counsel, human rights worker and significant people from throughout the national as well as international were facing contempt court proceedings. As the legal framework on contempt of court from the ICT-BD is marked through this study in regards to two leading cases noticeable through this article in regards to the contempt of court proceeding, namely David Bergman’s case and Adam Roberts and another’s case, as well as several cases resolved by the ICT-BD where the tribunals heard the Prosecution and the contemnor. ICT-BD afterwards learned that Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the London-based publication the Economist were the focus of contempt proceedings. The contempt court proceedings against journalist David Bergman were unique in character, despite the fact that ICT-BD enforces them in a number of situations.[21] In 2014, David Bergman, a British citizen and journalist who had been working in Bangladesh, received a summons and show cause notice from ICT-BD in accordance with Section 11(4) of the ICT Act 1973.[22]  In regards to the remark on the death figure in 1971 and the ongoing tribunal absentia trial, Advocate Mustafizur Rahman, the third-party petitioner, made an accusation against David Bergman and published three articles criticizing him with the intent to diminish, discredit, and weaken the tribunal’s authority.[23] In an affidavit, the defense attorney for contemnor David Bergman submits a written summary of the arguments made before the tribunal. Some contentious issues are raised, including the maintainability of the alleged contempt claim made by a third party, the delay in bringing the claim before the tribunal, and the need to avoid undermining public confidence in the administration of justice.[24] Instead, he argued before the tribunal on behalf of the applicant that his filing of the application guarantees the public interest and maintains the administration of justice.[25] After both parties hearing, the tribunal unanimously decided that the contemnor, David Bergman, was guilty of contempt of court offense and punished imprisonment till rising court with a fine of Tk 5,000 under Section 11(4) of the ICT Act 1973, paid within 7 days in default simple imprisonment for a period of 7 days.[26]

Besides, another contempt case, State v. Adam Roberts & others, was delivered by ICTBD-1 in 2013.   The chief prosecutor of ICT-BD filed a contempt case against Adam Roberts and Rob Gifford before the tribunal.  Adam Roberts, the South Asia bureau head, and Rob Gifford, the chief editor of “The Economist,” received a show cause notice from Tribunal I of ICT informing them that contempt proceedings had been started against them in accordance with Section 11 Clause 4 of ICT-BD.[27]  The Chief Prosecutor of ICT-BD filed a contempt case against Adam Robert and others. This case briefly stated that Justice Nizamul Huq, Chairman of ICT-BD, had his email and Skype conversation hacked by an unknown hacker. Regarding the hacking issue, The Economist’s office called over the telephone to Justice Nasim, asking for a Skype conversation between Justice Nasim and Ahmed Ziauddin and receiving related documents from a third party.[28] The defendant is not allowed to call the judge who is now conducting the case over the phone and request information that is illegal under the country’s current legal system.[29]  The contempt court action against Adam Roberts and Rob Gifford was brought about as a result of such act, which the defendant considered to be a contempt offenses.  After that, the defense counsel of Mustafizur Rahman, appearing on behalf of Adam Roberts and Rob Gifford, submitted a written argument that calling the Honorable Justice was good faith and that such an act of communication by the contemnor cannot constitute a court offense.[30] Further defense counsel urges that hacking Skype conversations, which illegally record the Hon’ble Justice`s conversation prepared by the tribunal and which the Economist magazine acknowledged, is an illegal recording of Skype conversations.[31]  However, considering the gravity of the case, the tribunal found that the Economist magazine was involved in the Skype conversation’s hacking, but the opposite party wrongly made a contract with the Hon`ble Justice, which was not permissible and did not permit the existing law in the country.[32] Finally, the tribunal delivered a contempt proceeding against the opposing parties with important observations that included: not allowing a contract with a judge over the phone; allowing the lawyer to obtain information about a related case; administrative functions requiring people to communicate with the tribunal’s registrar; enabling the registrar to disclose information; restraining publication of a report; and prohibiting the press and electronic media from circulating the report.[33]

Afterward, another focusing contempt case, Chief Prosecutor v. Khandakar Mahabub Hossain, Senior Advocate,  delivered by ICT-BD in 2014.  A contempt complaint was brought against eminent Bangladesh Supreme Court counsel Khandaker Mahabub Hossain by the ICT-BD Chief Prosecutor and a few original periodicals. He gave a contemptuous speech that was broadcast on the majority of Bangladeshi television stations and published in newspapers as well.[34] As per the complaint, Tribunal 1 issued a show cause why contempt proceeding initiation against the contemnor. The defendant submitted a written statement through his counsel before the tribunal. The tribunal fixed a date for the hearing. Defense counsel on behalf of the contemnor argues that the contemnor’s speech was misinterpreted, published in newspapers, and presented in electronic media.[35] On the contrary, the prosecutor argues that the opposite party contemnor said speech with an ill motive, was false, and was fabricated at the conference, which was contemptuous speech under Section 11 Clause 4 of the ICT Act 1973, read with Rule 45 of the ICT-BD Rules of Procedure 2010.[36]  After both parties’ hearings, the tribunal takes the contempt case against the contemnor for adjudication with various contempt court decisions of national and international jurisdiction. The tribunal interprets that the Contempt Court Act 1926 has no contempt definition but specifically incorporates the contempt provision under 11(4) of the ICT Act 1973 that mentions anybody who obstructs, abuses, or disobeys the tribunal`s order may punish contempt court proceedings.[37]  After consideration of the facts of the case, the tribunal disposed with reminder that the opposite party shall be more careful in making statements and comments with respect to the judiciary, the judges, and the courts of Bangladesh.[38]

Some significant and legitimate criticism was developed by the defendant and the prosecution in the context of the ICT-BD’s adjudicated contempt court proceedings. The defendant side brings up a number of legal arguments in the context of the Bergman case, including: the application for a delay; good faith; the public’s interest; the absence of Locus Standi; the court of record; freedom of expression; the time gap; and other related issues. On the contrary, the tribunal added comments to the deliberating ruling on December 2, 2014, in light of the opposing counsel’s challenging legal arguments.

Features in light of Bergman`s contempt case before ICT-BD:

  1. The court of record:  

ICT-BD, established in 2010 under the Act of 1973, has no provision for the court of record. So the tribunal has no jurisdiction to punish individuals in contempt court proceedings.[39] The tribunal delivered its decision on the issue of the court record, along with its findings. The tribunal describes, with reference to Halsbury`s law of England, that the court of records depends on whether the court has the power to impose a fine or imprisonment.[40] The statute of 1973, under Section 11(4), empowers the court to impose a fine or imprisonment.[41] Hence, establishing the tribunal by the Act of 1973 is a court of record, and the authority of a court has punished the contempt proceeding.[42]

  1. Locus Standi :

In the Bergman case, the defense attorney claims that the contemnor, who is a third party in this respect, does not have locus standi for the contempt motion that was submitted before the tribunal.[43] Furthermore, submitting a contempt application is not maintainable since it is not permitted by the ICT Act of 1973 or the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure.[44] The tribunal’s interpretation regarding the facts of locus standi is quite maintainable with reference to the S. Mulgaokar case.[45]

  1. C) Freedom of expression:

Freedom of expression is a fundamental protection concerning a fair trial. The freedom of expression is covered under Article 19 of the ICCPR, which carries with it some obligations and liabilities.[46] Besides, every person has the right to a fair trial in court proceedings and hearings by an impartial tribunal constituted by law, according to Article 14 of the ICCPR.[47] Additionally, Freedom of speech is a crucial element of public expression in order to safeguard the right to speak in the public interest. In order to boost public trust, freedom of the press represents public speech through media and publications.[48] In the contempt proceedings involving Bergman, Adam Robert, and others, the notion of freedom of expression was thoroughly addressed. Whether or not these situations violate international principles for freedom of expression, does ICT-BD preserve the administration of justice while taking into account the Bergman and Adam Robert instances’ contempt for proceeding? ICT-BD interprets judicial opinion regarding freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Bangladesh Constitution with limitations.[49] Furthermore, the tribunal comments that the strength of the judiciary depends on the people`s confidence and respect for the justice system.[50] A judicial procedure is also a concept that entails preserving the rule of law and fostering public trust.[51] In light of the well-known David Bergman case, journalist David Bergman has purposefully violated the court’s ruling by expressing his right to free speech.[52]

Subsequently, contempt of court concerning the freedom of expression rights deals with common-law countries across the world.  The right to free speech and the freedom of the press are crucial parts of modern democratic society, and freedom of expression is one of them. The ad hoc tribunal of the ICTY sentenced journalist Florence Hartman to contempt for releasing legal material on the Milosevic case, which is historically significant as the first judgment linked to the freedom of speech of international criminal courts.[53] Later, a special tribunal in Lebanon summoned media and journalists in Lebanon who had committed contempt of court charges in 2014.[54]

Disclosure of information regarding a connected case is considered to be contempt of court, according to Florence Hartman of the ICTY and Lebanese media and journalist of the STL contempt case, who filed an action against both rulings.[55] Florence Hartman, however, contends that the freedom of expression in both instances, the court rejected the contempt claim after the parties presented a defense based on factual and legal mistakes.[56]  Consequently, the current contempt judgment was made in light of the right-to-speech-related problem in the Arundhati Roy judgment in contempt proceedings at the Supreme Court of India about the freedom of expression contempt case. [57] Arundhati Roy was originally accused of contempt of court when she published an essay titled “The Greater Common Good” for Outlook magazine in 1999.[58]  Arundhati Roy’s essay about the case, according to two judges of the Supreme Court of India, involved misrepresenting the court proceedings and was, therefore, in contempt of the court. The court then commented that using the spirit of the impression of freedom of speech and expression is impermissible to challenge the court’s authority.[59] The court found the contemnor guilty of the contempt charge and sentenced her to one day of simple jail and a fine of 2,000 Indian rupees. The offender will receive further three months of simple jail if the fine is not paid.[60] Following their protests against the Supreme Court and their respective acts of contempt, Medha Patkar , Arundhati Roy,  and Prashant Bhushan were accused of the offense by a group of attorneys who filed an FIR of contempt in court.[61]  After filing an FIR, the court issued a notice against them, explaining why they should not be punished for contempt of court proceedings. All three defendants denied the contempt allegation against them and had the right to criticize the court, which was guaranteed by the Supreme Court of India. Also, a question arose about the procedural limitation filed in the alleged FIR. After consideration of the parties’ arguments in court, three defendants were acquitted for a lack of procedural error in the contempt filing case.[62]  After the disposal of the Medha Patkar and other cases, the court suo motu issued a notice against Arundhati Roy for the contemptuous statement made in her affidavit. As fundamental liberties for every person that preserve democracy, judicial decrees and freedom of speech are equally significant. As such, neither should be subject to contempt of court penalties.[63]

[VII] International Tribunals` framework of Contempt of court:

The recently developed practice of contempt of court has been considered by international crime courts. A special tribunal for Lebanon was incorporated under Rule 60bis regarding contempt of court procedure. Ad hoc tribunals, i.e., the Yugoslavia International Tribunal, the Rwanda International Tribunal, and the Sierra Leone Special Court, were included in RPE of common rule 77 relating to contempt of court. Article 70[64]  of the “offenses against administration of justice“ was stated Rome statute which was framed in 1998 and enacted in 2002. In addition, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) was established by adopting of Rule 90 under RPE, which will continue unfinished cases when the ICTY and ICTR are closed.[65] Common Rule 77, which addresses the unwillingness to constantly respond to pertinent questions posed by witnesses before chambers, was initially enacted by the ICTY in 1994, along with ensuring compensation along with imprisonment not exceeding six months.[66] Additionally, in 1995, RPE incorporated rule 77(c) for interfering with witnesses and rule 77(D) for appeal provisions.[67] A further amendment of Common Article 77 in 1997 added that tribunals prosecute any party, witness, or other person who violates an order before the chamber.[68]  The contempt court of the tribunal was established by RPE in 2001, and a number of instances specify that its inherent authority includes repeatedly refusing to respond to inquiries from witnesses, disclosing court information, failing to present evidence before the chamber, threatening witnesses for the tribunal, intending to prevent compliance with the court order, and extending a six-month sentence along with a fine of USD 10,000.[69] Additionally, SCSL addressed common rule 77(G), which states that a case must have been thoroughly investigated, prosecuted, and judged by the Chamber, imprisonment of not more than six months with a fine of not more than two million Leones, or both, may be imposed.[70] In light of this, Sub-Rule (c)(iii) provides for a maximum imprisonment of seven year , a maximum fine of two million Leones, or both.[71] In addition, according to article 70 of Rome Statute, which deals with contempt of court offences  against justice administration, was addressed in 1998. Producing false statement in front of the court, providing fabricated evidence, dishonestly manipulating witness or official, retailing against court employees, and receiving bribes are all prohibited, accordingly the Rome statute of  article 70.[72]  A court could be imposed imprisonment a period of terms which not to exceeded  05  years, compensation in accordance with following RPE guidelines, or equally , for a violation of the administration of justice.[73] The administration justice is upheld by way of ICTY, ICTR, SCSL, and ICC, among other tribunals, by taking precautions to guarantee that punishment and reparation are imposed in the same manner.

[VIII]  International tribunals’ Contempt cases:

The ICTY, ICTR, and SCSL trials produced decisions in a large number of contempt proceedings. ICTY` chamber in Tadic case found the first offense regarding the contempt court to be delivered judgment against Milan Vujin, who was a member of the defense team. Witnesses in the Tadic case were allegedly prevented from testifying by Milan Vujin throughout the appeals process.[74] Milan Vujin was deemed to have disregarded the tribunal by the Chamber, and the Chamber punished him Dfl. 15,000 to be paid to tribunal`s Registrar and Milan Vujin afterward appealed the conviction, but the appeals panel upheld the first judgment.[75] Subsequently, among the contempt proceedings delivered by the tribunal against Kosta Bulatovic, Beqa Beqaj, and others. Furthermore, the ICTY’s 2006 and 2007 terms of judicial operation saw the completion of three commendable contempt proceedings. The first case is the notable contempt proceeding in September 2006 against the contempt offenses of Marijacis and Rebic, which had a long-lasting impact on the jurisdiction of international tribunal history regarding contempt court proceedings. In the closing session of the Blaskic trial case before the ICTY, the Tribunal found Marijacis, chief editor  of `Hrvatski List` , guilty of contempt, a long statement of witness, and Rebic, who revealed the witness’s identity. That was violation of  Chamber`s order to disclose confidential information under Rule 77(A)(ii).[76] Marijacis and Rebic were ordered by the tribunal to pay 15,000 euros in damages within 30 days.[77] As a result, Marijacis and Rebic immediately filed an appeal with the appeal chamber, and the appeal chamber follows to rule 77 of the international tribunal of RPE about the tribunal’s inherent power interfering with upholding the standards of  justice administration. Conversely, the panel of appeal confirms the trial chamber’s decision, taking the interest of justice into account and authorizing three successive installment payments totaling 5000 euros.[78]  Peter Jojic and Vjerica Redeta were the focus of the second case of creditable contempt of the international residual system for criminal tribunal, which was brought before the appeal chamber in 2018. The circumstantial fact was that referencing case, Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj, ICTY issued an order against Jojic and Redeta of a contempt court procedure for allegedly making threats, providing bribes, or tampering with witnesses.[79] According to Article 1(4) of the legislation of international mechanisms, a single judge determined that international mechanisms have the authority to hear the case against the alleged accused relating the contempt court crime. Amicus of Serbia, on the other hand, asserted that the sole judge erroneously made such a ruling and engaged in judicial desecration.[80] Subsequently, Amicus filed an appeal with a challenge before an international mechanism against jurisdictional discretion. After hearing the case, the Appeal Chamber urged that it be sent back to a single judge for review of the previous ruling.[81] Domagoj Margetic, who was revealing the witness list, was found in contempt of court in the third significant case in the ICTY trial chamber in 2007. After hearing the case, the ICTY panel found Domagoj guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to three months in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros.[82] The current ICTY contempt court proceedings are also followed by the Sierra Leone Special Court International Tribunal. The SCSL Chamber determined that the AFRC case, in which Brima, Kamara, and Kanu were implicated, was in contempt of court. [83]  Accordingly, Common Rule 77 considers that if found guilty, a sentence and penalty could both be imposed by the chamber. However, the defense attorney urged the court to impose the minimum punishment. The court cautioned against including a clause that would set a minimum sentence. Rule 77 of the SCSL of RPE is silent on matters involving the minimum punishment. As a consequence, the court used its inherent authority while taking the contempt court into account, issued a conditional discharge, and ended the contempt court case.[84]

[IX] Conclusion:

An essential component of the judiciary for fostering public trust in the execution of contempt court proceeding uphold administration of justice in international crimes tribunals in Bangladesh. The court exercised the concept of contempt by following fair, transparent, and reliable policy when people were arbitrarily mocking, misrepresenting, and humiliating justice   Administration. The ICT-BD’s use of a contempt court proceeding raises several issues that need to be addressed, including locus standi, the public interest principle, the right to freedom of expression, the exclusion of appeal protection under the current contempt law from Sections 45 and 46 of the RoP-2010 and Sections 11(4) of the ICT Act, the lack of a court record, the subjudice matter principle, and scandalizing the administration of justice by exercising Article 39 of the Bangladesh constitution . The contempt court proceedings before the international crimes tribunals in Bangladesh are among the unsettled legal realities. In circumstances of contempt court proceedings, international criminal tribunals’ current practice of contempt court, appeal is allowed, and freedom of expression is respected. Additionally, the ICCPR legislation includes provisions for freedom of expression and appeal protection, which are legal concepts that are excluded, particularly the ICT-BD’s contempt of court regulations, which severely restricted these rights when conducting the contempt action. Verdicts for contempt of court proceedings should be included in the freedom of expression provision and appeal, followed by common rule 77 of the RPE of the ICTY, ICTR, and SCSL, in accordance with international criminal tribunals’ practice, the ICT Act 1973 as amended in 2009, 2012, and 2013, and RoP-2010 as amended in 2011. Also, the international crimes Tribunal- BD should be ensured to a fair hearing on addressing the unusual problem of contempt court proceeding . ICT-BD handles the peculiar issue of contempt of court in accordance with the rules and procedures of international courts. Finally, the Locus Standi concept, the basic rights guaranteed by the Bangladeshi constitution, and the court’s record should all be included into the current ICT-BD and RoP that create contempt court law.


Md Ataur Rahman, PhD Scholar, School of Law, G D Goenka University, can be reached via email at ataurresearch17@gmail.com

Azim Khan B. Pathan, Head of Department, School of Law, G D Goenka University, can be reached via emil at azimkhan.pathan@gdgu.org


[1] see The  Act , 1973, under  section 11(4)

[2] Noted : Dhaka Law Report (DLR) 63, p.465 , 2011 .

[3] Phillimore Committee report in 1974 .

[4] Lockhart , `Contempt of Court`, UNSW Law Journal , p.2, 1987 .

[5] See  Black Law Dictionary  .

[6] West’s encyclopedia of American Law of Contempt of Court”, 2nd ed. by Jeffrey Lehman &  Shirelle Phelps , 2008 online version .

[7] Ibid

[8] Contempt of Courts Act,2013  (Act No.IV of 2013).

[9] Moinul Hosein Vs. Sheikh Hasian Wazed case , 53 Dhaka Law Report(DLR)  p.138, 2001.

[10] www.thedailystar.net, (Thursday, October 12, 2023).

[11]  See  article –108, source: www.bdlaws.nunlaw.gov.bd

[12] Moazzam Husain v. Bangladesh case , reported by Dhaka Law Report(35 DLR) , Appellate Division ,  1983,  p.290

[13] Md. Abdul Halim Vs. Md. Tareque and Ors. Reported by Dhaka Law Report (63 DLR), Appellate Division, 2011, p.465

[14]  Bangladesh constitution , article 39(1)(2)(a)(b), Printed with latest amendment , April , 2016 .

[15] ICT Act 1973 , section – 11(4)

[16] Ibid

[17] RoP 2010 under section 46(1)

[18] Ibid

[19] Supra Note 13, section 46(2).

[20] RoP 2011 , section – 46(A)

[21] Chopra, Surabhi. `ICT-BD Silencing fair comment` Journal of Genocide Research, Vol.17, No.2, p215, ( 2015).

[22] Advocate Abul Kalam Azad, V. David Bergman , Misced. case no. 01 of 2014, ICT-BD [ICT-2]

[23] Ibid

[24] Ibid, Para no. 10

[25] Ibid, Para no. 18(a) .

[26] Ibid,  Para no. 135

[27] Chief prosecutor v. Adam Roberts , ICTBD Miscellaneous case 17 of 2012 , p1.

[28] Ibid, p2

[29] Ibid

[30] Ibid

[31] Ibid, p5

[32] Ibid

[33] Ibid, p.(5-6)

[34] Chief Prosecutor v. Khandaker Mahabub Hossain case , ICT-BD – 1 , P2.

[35] Ibid, p4

[36] Ibid, p3

[37] Ibid, p7

[38] Ibid,p22

[39] Supra Note 11 , Para no. 13

[40] Halsbury`s  Laws of England , 3rd edition, p346 , source from : Advocate Abul Kalam Azad, V. David Bergman , Misc. case no. 01 of 2014, ICT-BD [ICT-2], Para no. 21

[41] Supra Note 11 , Para No. 23

[42] Supra Note 11, Para No. 24

[43] Advocate Abul Kalam Azad, V. David Bergman , Misc. case no. 01 of 2014, ICT-BD [ICT-2],Para no.15

[44] Ibid

[45] S. Mulgaokar v. Unknown , 1978, AIR 727

[46] Lockhart, Contempt of court, UNSW Law Journal, Volume 10 , p 6, 1987 .

[47] ICCPR , Article 14 .

[48] Ibid , p 7.

[49] Supra Note 31 , Para-  69

[50] Advocate Abul Kalam Azad, V. David Bergman , Miscellaneous case no. 01 of 2014, ICT-BD [ICT-2],Para no.78

[51] Ibid, Para – 78

[52] Ibid, Para- 78

[53] Ghantous, Marie, ` Freedom of Expression & Contempt of Court before ICC : Selected Issues`, Revue quebeeoise de droit , p.203, 2018.

[54] Ibid

[55] Ibid

[56] Florence Hartman case (ICTY) ,  & Al jadeed & Karma Mohammad Tahsin case(STL).

[57] Arundhati Roy case, AIR 2002 , SC 1375

[58] www. narmada.org/gcg/gcg.html/ (Last visited on October 2023 )

[59] Shekhar Dutta, Mriganka & et.al, ` NUJS law review, p.64, 2009.

[60] Supra Note 57 .

[61] Ibid

[62] Ibid

[63] K, Samantasighar, ` Contempt of Court Vis –a- Vis Freedom of Speech’, Odisha Review, 71-, January- 2017.

[64]  Rome Statute, see article 70.

[65] Supra Note 53, p. 204, 2018.

[66] D’Ascoli, Silvia, JICJ 5, p 739, 2007.

[67] Ibid

[68] RPE of common rule 77.

[69] Ibid , rule 77(A)(i) to (v)

[70] Common rule 77 of Sub-Rule (C) (i) .

[71] Ibid, Sub- Rule (C)(iii) .

[72] Rome statute of article 70(1)(a-f).

[73] Ibid , article 70(3)

[74] Supra Note 11, p743.

[75] Ibid

[76] RPE of ICTY under Rule 77(A)(ii), Prosecutor v. Marijacic case

[77] IT-95-14R77.2-A, Prosecutor v. Marijacic case

[78] Prosecutor v. Marijacic appeal case

[79] Amicus Curiae v. Peter Jojic & Vjerica Radeta appeal case, case no. MICT -17-111-R90

[80] Ibid . p2

[81] Ibid, p10

[82] Supra Note 11, p746.

[83] Supra Note 11, p748.

[84] Supra Note 28 .

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