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

Boskoski Defence Revisits Provisional Release Bid

TU No 449, 21-Apr-06
Boskoski is charged along with police officer Johan Tarculovski in connection with an attack on an ethnic Albanian village during the brief conflict that broke out in Macedonia in 2001. Prosecutors say several people were murdered and many more detained and beaten.

Judges denied Boskoski's original request to be released from tribunal custody in July last year, saying they were unconvinced that his freedom would not endanger victims and potential witnesses in the case or that he would return for trial. They noted that he had already fled Macedonia once, after facing separate charges relating to the deaths of seven Asian immigrants in 2002.

In their latest submission, filed on April 13, immediately before the tribunal broke for Easter, the defence team deny that their client ever tried to evade justice in connection with the deaths of the immigrants. They also point to a recent finding by the Skopje Appellate Court affirming not-guilty verdicts against four other individuals facing related charges. This, the lawyers argue, "eliminates" any risk that Boskoski might be detained or given a prison sentence if he returns to the Balkans.

In addition, they point to fresh promises by the Macedonian government to ensure that Boskoski will return for trial if released and they note that in January this year, new witness protection legislation came into force in Macedonia.

The lawyers also point out that Boskoski has been suffering from depression and include a note from his family urging judges to allow them to be reunited.

Arguing that it seems his trial will not start any time soon, Boskoski's defence counsel want their client to be released either to Macedonia or to Croatia. He has Croatian as well as Macedonian citizenship and was detained in Croatia in connection with the deaths of the seven immigrants prior to his transfer to The Hague.

Also on April 13, the tribunal's deputy registrar, John Hoeking, required Boskoski to contribute over 575,000 US dollars towards his defence fees. Hoeking noted several properties and a Mercedes belonging to the accused, as well as a business belonging to his wife.

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