Tribunal Indicts Djukic on War Crimes
(MARCH 1, 1996 · THE HAGUE) The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted a Bosnian Serb generaltoday on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including 3½ years of attacks on Sarajevo. The indictment allows the tribunal to keep Gen. Djordje Djukic in custody, making him only the second indicted suspect held in the tribunalís jail. The court, appointed by the United Nations to prosecute war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, has now indicted 53 suspects.
Chief Prosecutor Richard Goldstone said the indictment charges the 60-year-old general of war crimes, including the shelling of civilian targets during the Bosnian Serb siege of Sarajevo between May 1992 and December 1995.
More than 10,000 civilians were killed during the siege, including 1,500 children. The siege was formally declared over on Thursday.
Djukic was arrested Jan. 30 with Bosnian Serb Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic, after the two made a wrong turn into a Muslim-held Sarajevo suburb. (See Berserkistan's coverage.) Djukic made no comment on his indictment at a court hearing in The Hague on Friday.
The arrest of the two officers had threatened the fragile peace in Bosnia and caused the Bosnian Serbs to temporarily sever relations with the NATO-led peace force.
Prosecutors had hoped that Djukic, a senior aide to Bosnian Serb army chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, could provide information and evidence leading to future indictments.
Goldstone had been keeping Djukic in custody as a potential witness, and the case had raised the thorny issue of whether the tribunal could legally detain witnesses without charge. On Wednesday, Djukic told the tribunal he would not answer questions. Still, Goldstone said Friday he moved to indict because the general has refused to talk. "It would not be proper or permissible to continue to regard General Djukic as a witness merely on the hope that he might yet change his mind and cooperate," Goldstone said Friday.
Goldstone said investigations into the Serb officer were continuing. "It is likely that an amendment of the indictment will be sought before the accused stands trial," he said Friday.
Krsmanovic, the other Bosnian Serb officer in custody, would be held for another month as "a suspect and potential witness," tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier said.
Lawyers Claimed Djukic Held Illegally
Lawyers for Djordje Djukic, a Bosnian Serb general held by the U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia, said on Wednesday (Feb 28) that their client was being held unlawfully and demanded the tribunal release him. "We are of the view that the detention of General Djukic is expiring tomorrow," Milan Vujin, a Belgrade lawyer representing Djukic, told a public hearing at the tribunal in The Hague. "After tomorrow this trial chamber is not entitled to hold Djukic in custody and he should be released without any restrictions on his movement," Vujin said.
"He was subjected to torture and questioning which would last for 20 hours a day. Police would come in teams to see him... the only breaks he would have were for food and drink. We think public opinion should be informed about this," Vujin said.
Djukic, dressed in a light brown sweater and blue jeans, identified himself as a senior logistics officer in the Bosnian Serb army and said he was arrested while travelling to assess surrendering part of an installation to the NATO peace force.
"On the way I was kidnapped along with my fellow travellers by the (Bosnian) police. I do not know what order they followed in doing so and what requests they carried out because the act of arrest and detention was contrary to all international regulations," Djukic told the tribunal.
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Coalition for International Justice
Attorneys Without Borders
Helsinki Human Rights Watch Gopher
Human Rights Abuses in Bosnia published by Intac Access
Major War Criminals/Suspects from CalTech
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia from CalTech
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