Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Boskoski Accused of Working the System

(TU No 454, 26-May-06)
In April, the court's registry, having completed an assessment of Boskoski's financial situation, told him that he would be required to pay over 575,000 US dollars towards the defence of his case. Boskoski did not appeal that decision.

But the following week, he withdrew his request for tribunal-assigned counsel, and his lawyer, Edina Residovic, asked to be taken off the case. Boskoski subsequently informed the registry that he would be mounting his own defence, though Residovic would continue to assist him in a limited capacity.

Then, on May 11, Residovic presented the judges with a confidential motion on Boskoski's behalf, arguing that in order to ensure a fair trial, it was their duty to make sure that he had proper legal representation. Otherwise, she said, the defence case would be hampered by factors such as Boskoski's lack of legal training and his inability to speak either English or French, the two working languages of the tribunal.

In their response, the judges asserted that the court is under no obligation to provide Boskoski with free legal help. They noted Boskoski's law degree and his "considerable high-level professional experience".

"If Boskoski has concerns about his ability to represent himself," they said, "his financial situation means that he has alternative courses of action open to him".

They also underlined their willingness to ensure that all the documents Boskovski would need in order to prepare his defence would be translated into Macedonian so that he could read them.

Boskoski is charged with murder, cruel treatment and wanton destruction – all classed as violations of the laws or customs of war – in connection with an attack on the ethnic Albanian village of Ljuboten during Macedonia's brief civil war in 2001. Apart from a number of people allegedly killed in the assault itself, a great many more are said to have been detained and beaten.

When considering Boskoski's obligation to contribute to his defence case, the court registry took into account his Mercedes, two properties in Macedonia and one in Croatia, and a business belonging to his wife.

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