THE HAGUE | 15.02.2004.
Next Week at the Tribunal


Hague Round-up: Only two working days to go before the end of the prosecution case against Slobodan Milosevic. Testimony of SDS insider. New testimony about Mujahedin crimes. Is General Strugar fit for trial? Proceedings against defense counsel for attempts to pressure witnesses and disclose their identities. Status conferences in the proceedings against the Vukovar Three and Vojislav Seselj

As the prosecution case in the Slobodan Milosevic case draws to a close, it seems no more "spectacular witnesses" will be called. When he provided the court with the witness list for next Wednesday and Thursday, prosecutor Geoffrey Nice mentioned a witness "whom it was uncertain whether we would call or not." He then added, "She will not be called.” This seems to have finally put an end to the possibility of Biljana Plavsic being called to the witness stand. Plavsic is the former president of the Republika who pled guilty for the persecution of non-Serbs in BH. The Belgrade media were rife with speculations that she was about to return to The Hague from Sweden, where she is serving her 11-year prison sentence.

Of the remaining four witnesses, witness B-235 might prove to be the most interesting. This is based on information about him already made public: there’s been an order granting him protective measures (his identity and appearance will be concealed from the public) and the Trial Chamber stated that the witness will give “important evidence” and that the Prosecution confidential motion contain “a declaration of an investigator detailing express intimidation with respect to giving testimony before the ICTY”.)

At the trial of former Bosnian Serb political leader Momcilo Krajisnik, the testimony of Miroslav Deronjic will continue from where it left off last week. Deronjic is an SDS insider who has turned state's evidence. Deronjic, who progressed in the Serbian Democratic Party from chairman of the Bratunac Local Board (1991-1992) to Karadzic's civilian commissioner for Srebrenica in 1995 and finally to vice-chairman of the Main Board of the party (1996), pled guilty to the massacre of 65 Bosniaks killed on 9 May 1992 in the village of Glogova near Bratunac in eastern Bosnia. He promised to cooperate fully with the prosecution; this is the fourth time he has testified in the last four months.

In week nine of the prosecution case against General Enver Hadzihasanovic and Brigadier Amir Kubura, former commanders in the BH Army, new testimonies are expected by eye-witnesses and survivors of war crimes committed during the 1993 Croat-Muslim conflict in central Bosnia by Army troops and particularly by the so-called "holy warriors of Islam," or Mujahedin.

Until the Trial Chamber makes its final decision about whether General Pavle Strugar is fit for trial, the prosecution continues to present evidence about the shelling of Dubrovnik in late 1991. Next week, Colin Kaiser will continue his testimony. Kaiser is a UNESCO expert who in November and December 1991 investigated the damage caused by JNA shells fired on the Old Town of Dubrovnik. The prosecution was granted three weeks to retain psychiatrists to examine the defendant and submit to the Chamber its findings on his mental and physical state. The report filed by the defense, written by a Belgrade psychiatrist, indicates that General Strugar suffers from vascular dementia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and is unfit to stand trial.

Milka Maglov, former member of Radoslav Brdjanin's defense team, will appear this week in court, charged with having exerted pressure on witnesses and having disclosed their identities to the public.

Also this week Status conferences will be held in the Vukovar Three case (three former JNA officers – Mrksic, Sljivancanin and Radic – accused of the massacre at Ovcara in November 1991) and the Vojislav Seselj case. Seselj has filed a voluminous motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal and alleging defects in the form of his indictment. He is charged with crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vojvodina