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Claiming Cancer, Gen. Djikic Seeks Freedom from Tribunal
War Crimes Tribunal Orders Medical Tests,
Decision Expected After April 24 Hearing

(THE HAGUE, Netherlands—AP) Defense lawyers for Djordje Djukic Monday appealed for the Bosnian Serb general to be released from pre-trial confinement at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal because of ill health. The 62-year-old general, facing crimes against humanity charges for his role in the Serb bombardment of Sarajevo that killed 10,000 civilians, is suffering from pancreatic cancer. At a Monday hearing, he pledged to appear before the U.N. court when summoned if freed.

Djukic complained about his health and the food he is being served in the tribunal's cell block. "I have been losing weight... I have now sciatica... I hardly sleep during the night," Djukic told the three-judge panel. He also complained that his diet was "relatively monotonous and the food is not very tasty."

Presiding judge Claude Jorda of France ordered further medical examinations of Djukic, who has been receiving regular attention in his cell from prison doctors. Djukic's appeal for freedom was made during a hearing of three pre-trial defense motions to bar prosecution evidence and halt Bosnian government proceedings against Djukic. One motion requested the tribunal to rule out documents on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army chief Gen. Ratko Mladic.

His lawyers indicated that they objected to Djukic being linked to the Bosnian Serb leaders who have also been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide. Jorda said the panel would hear medical reports on Djukic on April 24 and make its rulings on all pretrial defense motions two days later, clearing the way for Djukic's trial date to be set.

Djukic, a former senior aide to Mladic, was arrested January 30 after his car made a wrong turn into a Bosnian government-controlled Sarajevo suburb. Arrested with him was Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic, who is still being held in a tribunal cell here for questioning. Djukic was indicted March 1 after refusing to answer questions.

Krsmanovic's lawyer has filed a motion demanding "a clarification of the colonel's status before the tribunal" since he has not been indicted. Krsmanovic is refusing to cooperate with the tribunal and a hearing was scheduled for Friday to discuss his case. Krsmanovic can be held without trial until early next month by the tribunal, but must then be indicted or returned to Bosnian government custody.

Prosecutors originally hoped Djukic and Krsmanovic they would testify against Karadzic and Mladic. Djukic is one of only two indicted suspects so far in tribunal custody, although that figure is set to rise in coming weeks as three suspects arrested in Austria and Germany are handed over for trial.

The U.N. court has indicted 57 suspects, including three Bosnian Muslims and a Bosnian Croat charged last week with war crimes for their roles at a Bosnian government-run prison camp in 1992 where Serb inmates were allegedly murdered, tortured and raped.

Additional resources
Mar 4 · Djukic Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes
Mar 1 · Tribunal Indicts Gen. Djukic
Feb 29 · Tribunal Hears Plea for Release of Gen Djukic
Feb 14 · Djukic-Krsmanovic Case Points Out Problems with Tribunal
Feb 12 · NATO Sends Serbs to War Crimes Tribunal

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