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Blaskic Indictment Ammended For Second Time

Tribunal Update 27: Last Week in The Hague (May 5-10, 1997)

The new indictment contains more specific allegations about the time and place of the alleged culpability of General Tihomir Blaskic as well as more specific allegations as to the type of responsibility he is charged with.

The amended indictment narrows the time span to the period from “May 1992 to January 1994” (previously “from about May 1992 to about April 1994”). The location of the alleged events is stated more specifically and include 13 locations in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to four municipalities mentioned in the previous indictment. Expressions such as “including but not limited to” and “among others” have been removed.

Regarding the role of the accused in the alleged events, references to Article 7.1 (direct command responsibility) and Article 7.3 (indirect command responsibility) of the Statute are now contained in every charge, whereas previously the legal basis for the accused's criminal responsibility was set out as part of the “general allegations”. Finally, the amended indictment also charges the accused with one additional count (count 2, wanton destruction not justified by military necessity).

This is actually the third version of the indictment of General Blaskic, former commander of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO). The first indictment, issued in November 1995, accused Blaskic and five other Bosnian Croat political and military leaders (in the first place Dario Kordic, former president of the Bosnian branch of the Croatian Democratic Union) of crimes against Muslim civilians in the Lasva Valley in Central Bosnia. Thereafter, in November 1996, a somewhat amended separate indictment was drawn up for Blaskic.

The defence is not yet satisfied, even with the third and latest version of the indictment, which it considers to be still “impermissibly vague”. It is asking the Trial Chamber “to dismiss the indictment based upon the Prosecutor's failure to comply with the Order [to specify the allegations]”. In the alternative, the defence requests the Trial Chamber to set a date for trial.

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