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Celebici Trial

Tribunal Update 34: Last Week in The Hague (June 23-28, 1997)

As the prosecutor had no other witnesses to hand, the Celebici trial was adjourned again and will resume on Monday, July 7.

Instead of proceeding with the trial, on June 24 Trial Chamber II ruled on the motion filed by the defence of one of the accused, Hazim Delic. The Chamber rejected a request from the accused that the prosecution provide to the defence copies of any documents in its possession which would negate Delic's guilt.

The judges found that “the defence has failed to specify material it regards as exculpatory and which should be disclosed pursuant to Rule 68. Moreover, the defence has failed to show prima facie that the information it seeks to be disclosed is in actual fact exculpatory.”

Among other things, the defence was requesting the evidence that the armed forces of Serbia and Bosnian Serb forces “did not conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.” The Chamber stated that it failed to see how information about violations of the laws and customs of war by opposing forces. . . could be considered exculpatory.

Prior violations, it said, can never be considered as justifications for retaliatory or later violations by an opposing side, because “this would only lead to a further escalation of criminal violence.”

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