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Tribunal Testimony: Bosnia an International Conflict, Not  Civil War
Historian Takes Stand for Second Day
In Torture Trial of Dusan Tadic

THE HAGUE, May 9 (Reuters) — The U.N. tribunal for former Yugoslavia, trying Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic for war crimes, on Thursday heard from a history expert how Bosnia fragmented in the early 1990s, providing the backdrop for hideous crimes. British military historian and Yugoslav expert Dr James Gow told the tribunal panel of three judges led by Gabrielle Kirk McDonald of the United States how the upheavals and slaughter of 1992 formed part of an international conflict and not a civil war as maintained by the defense.

Tadic, a former cafe owner and police reservist, is accused of moving at will between prison camps in northwestern Bosnia during 1992, killing, raping and torturing. Tadic sat attentively as prosecution witness Gow, during his third day of evidence, described how Serbs boycotted a Muslim and Croat backed independence referendum and how subsequent EU recognition of the new state triggered the siege of Sarajevo.

"The conflict was international, that is what Gow is here to demonstrate," said tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier. "The other witnesses (for the prosecution) will testify that it was widespread and (crimes were) systematic."

The defense, led by Dutch lawyer Michail Wladimiroff, opened its case on Tuesday by maintaining the conflict was a civil war and that the tribunal had no right to try Tadic. Tadic denies having been to the notorious Omarska and Keraterm camps, claiming he is a victim of mistaken identity. The first prisoner to face an international war crimes court since the 1950s, Tadic has been in custody for two years since a chance identification by Bosnian refugees in Germany. Outlining his strategy on Tuesday, prosecutor Grant Niemann said that horrific war crimes committed by Tadic were part of a broader Serb policy of "ethnic cleansing" aimed at driving out Muslims and Croats and claiming Prijedor for themselves.

Chartier said more experts were expected to testify before the tribunal including "special facts" witnesses who, though not eye-witnesses to Tadic's alleged crimes, can testify that they fitted into the pattern of "ethnic cleansing" atrocities against non-Serbs in Bosnia during the early 1990s.

The first eye-witness accounts of atrocities at the heart of the Tadic case, said to include sexual mutilation and ferocious karate-style beatings, are expected in the third week of the trial. The proceedings, before judges from the United States, Australia and Malaysia, but not being heard by a jury, are expected to last several months.

The tribunal, set up by the Security Council in May 1993, marks the first attempt by the U.N. to enforce international treaties on the conduct of war and protection of civilians. So far it has charged 57 people with war crimes — 46 Serbs, eight Croats and three Muslims — but holds only Tadic and three others at its 24-cell detention unit in The Hague.

Later on Thursday, the first Bosnian Muslim to be taken into tribunal custody, Zejnil Delalic, faces Kirk McDonald to enter his plea against charges of war crimes on Serbs. Delalic, alleged to be a Bosnian Muslim military commander in the Konjic region of Bosnia, is accused of responsibility for the murders, rapes and tortures carried out by his subordinates at the Celebici camp in central Bosnia. Tribunal sources say the trial of Delalic, and three others charged in the same Celebici indictment, could run concurrently with Tadic's trial.

Additional resources
May 8 · Historian Sets Context for Atrocities in Day 2 of Tadic Trial
May 8 · Muslims in Sarajevo React to Tribunal Trial
May 7 · Defense: Tadic Had No Role in Murder, Torture
May 7 · On Trial's Eve, Tadic Claims Innocence
May 7 · Childhood Friend Says Tadic was Cruel, Artistic
May 7 · Tribunal Judge Heavy on Texas Style
Key Facts about the War Crimes Tribunal
War Crimes Profile: Dusan Tadic
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from the United Nations
Coalition for International Justice
Reports concerning human rights abuses in Bosnia published by Intac Access
Major War Criminals/Suspects from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia from CalTech's Bosnia Site

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