Tadic Defense Won't Challenge
Claim that Serb-Yugoslavia
Caused War in Bosnia
If the conflict is considered a civil war,
defence precedent would have been set.
Michail Wladimiroff, counsel for the defence at the Bosnian war crimes trial in The Hague, has revealed that he does not intend to challenge the prosecution's assertion that a Serb-dominated Yugoslavia was responsible for the war in Bosnia. The Dutch lawyer broke his month-long media silence in a conversation with Vanessa Vasic-Janekovic, presenter of the ICTY Highlights programme, seen on Internews broadcasts of the war crimes tribunal. Wladimiroff revealed his strategy for defending Dusan Tadic, accused of Crimes against humanity, violations of Laws and customs of war and grave breaches of Geneva Conventions in northwestern Bosnia in the summer of 1992.
Wladimiroff said that he will not attempt to disprove one of the key assertions of the prosecution -- that the war in Bosnia was not a civil war, but an international conflict initiated by the Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Protocols of the Geneva Conventions, under which Tadic is charged, are only applicable to international conflicts. If the defence is able to prove the international character of the Bosnian war in the Tadic case, then the prosecutors will have established a precedent for their future cases.
Wladimiroff said: "We are not acting on behalf of the state, nor are we acting on behalf of authorities. We simply act on behalf of Mr. Tadic. Now, we do not challenge that things happened in the area, as they did, all over the place, in each part of the former Yugoslavia... The issue is -- it was not Dusko Tadic."
Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb cafe owner from Kozarac, was accused of approximately thirty counts of murder, torture and inhumane treatment of inmates in the Omarska concentration camp in Bosnian Serb territory, as well as murders committed outside Omarska. His defence will rest on an alibi, because the defence team maintains that Tadic was not present at the camp between June 16 1992 and December 25 1992.
Yesterday afternoon in court, in an unexpected development, Wladimiroff began his attempt to build that alibi. The prosecution had called Osman Selak, a retired Colonel in the Yugoslav Peoples Army, as an expert witness on the secret conversion of that force into the Army of the Bosnian Serbs in 1992. But in his cross-examination, Wladimiroff sprung a surprise. He produced a copy of Dusan Tadic's military identity book. He told Internews... "We thought, having now the first military man, this Col. here as a witness, he is the most appropriate person to confirm what is in this military book."
It was determined that Tadic had indeed served with the civilian police in the period between June 16 1992 and December 25 1992. Wladimiroff will now have to prove that this service had nothing to do with Omarska or any other crimes of which Tadic is accused.
"The point is did he work for the Prijedor police in the time frame in question," said Wladimiroff, "that was clearly indicated by this military book." But Vanessa Vasic-Janekovic challenged the defence counsel. "So if he worked for the Prijedor police, does that mean that he was not working in the vicinity of Omarska or in Omarska?" she asked.
"That's a different question," Wladimiroff replied. "The evidence on this issue is not dealt with by just one witness giving a statement on this issue."
Wladimiroff had said that once the trial began, he would give no further interviews. But he made an exception for Internews, because its satellite broadcasts are seen by people in former Yugoslavia.
During yesterday's session in the Hague, it was revealed that Wladimiroff will travel to the former Yugoslavia in a search for further evidence in the first two weeks in July. He told Internews, "[We expect] to talk to witnesses and assure them we can give them proper protection."
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) began the trial of Dusko Tadic on May 7. Residents and refugees from the former Yugoslavia have been able to view the proceedings on a live satellite feed produced by Internews Network, an international non-profit organisation.
Viewers throughout Europe with home satellite dishes can receive the live coverage from 10:00 to 18:00 CET (times subject to slight changes) on Eutelsat II F3, 16 degrees east, Transponder 34. Receive at 11.638 GHz Horizontal. Separate audio channels will give the viewer the choice of languages, including Serbo-Croatian and English. Two hours of prime time evening highlights are broadcast courtesy of the European Commission on its television channel Europe by Satellite from 21:00 to 23:00 CET on Eutelsat II, F2, 10 degrees east, Transponder 21. Receive at 11.080 GHz Horizontal. AUDIO for both programs: 7.56 MHz Panda 1 -- Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian; 7.20 MHz Panda 1 -- English; 7.38 MHz Panda 1-- French.
The program can be received throughout most of Europe, and in the western part of the former Soviet Union. In addition, Internews is providing the feed at no charge to all local independent television stations that can receive the signal. Radio-Television Bosnia and Hercegovina and independent television stations in Bosnia transmit the program.
Berserkistan, May 9 · Historian Disclaims Civil War Defence in Tadic Trial
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
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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