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Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 67: Last Week in The Hague (March 9-14, 1998)
By IWPR

Such, identical, requests were explained in two separate "ethnically clean" motions: one for three Muslims (Delalic, Delic and Landzo), and the other for the co-accused Bosnian Croat (Mucic).

During the two-day long public hearing on the above motions, which are confidential in character since the names of protected witnesses are mentioned in them, the Defence orally argued in support of its request, and the Prosecution, naturally, rebutted it.

According to the Defence's assessment, the Prosecution "failed to prove his case as a matter of law and fact" - in a nearly one-year long presentation of evidence. According to the defenders, there is no prima facie case, and that no objective fact-finder would conclude beyond reasonable doubt that the accuseds are guilty.

The Defence further disputed the applicability of Article 2 of the Tribunal's Statute (Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions) since, according to them, the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not an international conflict.

The Defence's argument is odd given that the Defenders made an effort, in the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, to show that Bosnia-Herzegovina was the victim of the aggression of JNA, Serbia and Montenegro.

Disputing the applicability of the same article, the Defence was further proving that the inmates of the Celebici camp were not protected persons under Geneva Conventions, and that they were not "unlawfully confined" since they were nationals of Bosnia-Herzegovina, suspected of acting against the government. They also pointed out that the legal requirements for the "superior responsibility" of three of the accused have not been met in this case.

The Prosecution responded to the Defence's motions in writing, with a nearly 100 pages-long motion, so that in a public hearing Teresa McHenry briefly responded to the Defence arguments.

Presiding Judge Adolphus Karibi-Whyte announced that the Trial Chamber's decision would be issued in writing on Wednesday 18 March, and advised counsel for the four accused, just in case, to prepare for the presentation of their case, which will - should the Defence's motion be rejected - begin on Monday, 30 March.

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