Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 25: Last Week in The Hague (April 21-25, 1997)

Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 25: Last Week in The Hague (April 21-25, 1997)

Wednesday, 23 April, 1997

If things continue at this rate (and there is no sign of anything else) the prosecution's presentation could last 30-40 weeks! And then the defence witnesses will follow, whose number is not yet known, but it can be assumed that there will be no fewer then were presented by the prosecution. Altogether, it seems that the Celebici trial will last well into1998.

Last week's prosecution witness, Miro Golubovic (38), a taxi-driver from Konjic, was in Celebici camp for a relatively short period (from June 6 to July 17, 1992) and had a relatively easy time in captivity, compared to the experiences of the other witnesses who have appeared so far. During his 40 days in detention, Golubovic said he was physically maltreated only twice, both times by policemen who were interrogating him about a hunting rifle which his father had hidden.

The first time, the witness said, he was taken to the camp HQ. The policemen switched off the light and put a lighted candle on the table. One of the men heated a pair of scissors in the candle flame and burnt the witness on his neck and upper lip. Later, they told him to raise his hands and started beating him around the rib-cage.

One of the indictees, Hazim Delic, took part in this beating, according to Golubovic. On the second occasion, about ten days later, he was again beaten by policemen, one of whom fired a gun next to his head and cut him below the eye with a knife.

If Miro Golubovic was some sort of "privileged detainee" in Celebici, the credit goes to Zdravko Mucic, the indicted camp commandant. Before the war, Golubovic knew Mucic by sight, but they were not friends. Now, the witness told the court, "I have friendly feelings for Mucic after everything he did for me."

After the second beating, Mucic had him transferred from the tunnel where he was detained to a building which served as the camp hospital. There he brought him food, gave him cigarettes, even advised him never to go near the camp fence, even if he was ordered to do so, because the guards could kill him and then claim that he was trying to escape.

Mucic finally released him from the camp on July 17, 1992, together with his father and ten other detainees. Golubovic's release form was shown to the court. It bore the signature of Zejnil Delalic-then the supreme military authority in the Konjic region-to whom the prosecution attributes command responsibility for the crimes in the camp.

After the witness's release, Mucic visited him at home four or five times. He brought cigarettes, medicine for the witness's mother, detergent and flour. After Golubovic asked for help to cross over to Serb-held territory, Mucic at first tried to persuade him to stay in Konjic, saying the worst was over. However, Mucic later said that the situation had changed and that maybe he should go. Mucic helped Golubovic to leave Konjic for Serb-held territory on November 14, 1992.

During cross examination by Mucic's lawyer, Michael Greaves, Golubovic confirmed that he had told investigators from the Office of the Prosecutor that "if 20 per cent of the people in Bosnia were like Mucic [...] there would have been no war." He said that he still believed this.

In an order dated April 22, 1997, Trial Chamber II granted leave to the Prosecutor to withdraw counts 9 and 10 of the indictment against the accused Esad Landzo. The prosecution filed the request because "further investigation has revealed that this charge [the killing of a person surnamed Miljanic] was based on erroneous information resulting from witness confusion concerning the victim's identity." The trial Chamber granted the leave with prejudice "that charges set forth in the said counts shall not be raised against any of the four accused persons at a later date."

Owing to the ill health of one of the judges, the Celebici trial has been adjourned for a week. It is expected to resume on Monday, May 5, 1997.

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