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Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 27: Last Week in The Hague (May 5-10, 1997)

Their testimony filled in the picture of the general conditions in the camp and confirmed the allegations of previous witnesses about the maltreatment of detainees by deputy camp commander Hazim Delic and camp guard Esad Landzo. While Dragan Kuljanin was himself badly beaten by a group of guards which included Delic (Counts 38-39), Malden Kuljanin was beaten only “in passing”, but had been an eyewitness to several serious incidents described in the indictment.

The last day of the week's hearings was the most interesting. The prosecutor began to introduce statements which the accused had made outside the court, under interrogation in Germany (Delalic), Austria (Mucic) and the UN Detention Unit in Scheveningen. On Friday, such evidence was presented by Sabine Manke, an investigator in the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) who had interrogated Delalic on March 18 and 19, 1996, immediately after his arrest in Germany.

The defence objected to the presentation of this testimony as evidence against the accused and his co-defendants, explaining that Delalic's lawyer had not been present during the interrogation (Delalic had waived his right to a lawyer) and that there had been technical problems in the video and audio recording of the interview.

The court, however, ruled that the evidence should be accepted. It considered that the rights of the accused had not been violated, and that the technical problems could be debated and decided on when the film and transcripts of Delalic's statement to the investigators was actually presented.

On the same grounds, the defence counsel for the Celebici camp commander, Zdravko Mucic, submitted a motion asserting that the defendant had, during interrogation by the Austrian police, been put under pressure to waive his right to a lawyer. Given that this was, in their view, a “very serious accusation,” the judges have decided to consider the defence motion when the trial resumes this week.

They will decide whether to summon the Austrian policeman - who was allegedly alone with Mucic for 20 minutes - to make a statement about it before the court.

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