Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 63: Last Week in The Hague (February 9-13, 1998)

Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 63: Last Week in The Hague (February 9-13, 1998)

Friday, 13 February, 1998

Expert prosecution witness Dr Andrew James Gow from the Department of War Studies of King's College, London has been in the court giving evidence since last year. At the beginning of December he spent two hours answering questions about the role of "mini Yugoslavia" (Serbia and Montenegro) in the Bosnian war, as well as about the command structure of the B-H Army (See Update 55).

Cross-examination followed and is still underway. John Ackerman is defending Esad Landzo and Zeljko Olujic is defending the commander of the Celebici camp Zdravko Mucic. The pace is such that at one point, Prosecutor Grant Nieman, grasped his head with his hands and said with consternation, "He (Gow) will be here for the next two years!"

If there is any system to such a cross-examination, it boils down to the following: the Defence is not disputing the basic argument that the war in Bosnia was an international conflict and that Bosnia was a victim to the aggression of Serbia and Montenegro, the JNA and its paramilitary allies.

The Defence, however rejects claims that the Bosnian Serbs from the vicinity of Konjic who were detained in the Celebici camp were citizens of SFRY during the time of their detention.

The Defence maintains that the detainees of Celebici would not then be protected persons according to the Geneva Conventions, and only Article 2 of the Statute of the Tribunal could be applied to the accused, which establishes its jurisdiction for Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

According to the Defence, the detainees of Celebici were the nationals of Bosnia and were involved in the armed rebellion against their own legal government.

Dr Gow's ordeal continues on Monday, 16 February, when the defenders of the other two accused will take over: American Tom Moran for Hazim Delic and Sarajevo lawyer Edina Residovic for the first-accused Zejnil Delalic.

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