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Bosanski Samac Case - Todorovic's cooperation with prosecutors worries his co-defendants

Tribunal Update 208 Last Week in The Hague (February 5-10, 2001)
By IWPR

Todorovic pleaded guilty to persecuting Bosniaks and Croats on political, religious and racial grounds - a crime against humanity - in October and agreed to testify against his co-defendants and others charged by the tribunal.


In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining charges against him and to request a reduced sentence of between 5 and 12 years imprisonment. (See Tribunal Updates Nos. 203 and 205)


Todorovic, who is currently waiting to hear his sentence, was separated from the Bosanska Samac indictment.


Simic, Zaric and Tadic were high-ranking officials in the Bosanski Samac and Odzaci municipal authorities and in the so-called Crisis Staff. Todorovic was the police chief in Bosanski Samac.


Prosecutors said they had conducted several interviews with Todorovic since he agreed to the deal.


"We did have a couple of interviews with Mr. Todorovic...and we have some others scheduled over the next few months....These interviews are wide ranging and only some portions of them directly relate to the Bosanski Samac case," said prosecutor Nancy Patterson.


Igor Pantelic, representing Tadic, then asked the judges, "Who can guarantee that Todorovic's statements are truthful?"


Judge Patrick Robinson said that was for the trial to determine and not the status conference. He said the trial of the three remaining accused should begin by October at the latest.


Robinson asked the prosecution and defence to prepare undated pre-trial briefs. But all three defence counsels asked first to be given transcripts of Todorovic's conversations with prosecution investigators relating to the Bosanski Samac case.


"We cannot prepare the briefs without information about Todorovic's statement that might refer to our clients," Pantelic said.


The prosecution did not object to this, but said publication of the information would have to wait until an accurate English translation of the transcripts had been completed.