Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Controversial Oric Video Remains Part of Case

(TU No 439, 10-Feb-06)
Tribunal prosecutors filmed the interviews with Oric in Sarajevo in April and May 2001, two years before he was formally indicted for war crimes against Serb civilians and prisoners in eastern Bosnia in the early Nineties.

The defence counsel handling Oric’s case before the Hague tribunal say that the translation of the conversations is flawed, that there are inaccuracies in the English transcripts, and that their client was represented at the time by an “incompetent lawyer” who frequently interrupted to give answers on his behalf.

In their decision on the matter this week, the trial judges said that while they could not exclude the material from the evidence against Oric, they would “assess the weight to give to it” when the time comes. They also promised to take the defence’s concerns into account when relying on the English transcript.

In response to the other specific objections made by Oric’s lawyers, the judges said they had “no grounds to believe that defective interpretation [had] rendered the interview unreliable”.

They also said they could not agree that the conduct of the lawyer representing the accused at the time was “flagrantly incompetent”, especially since at no point in the interviews had Oric expressed concerns about the advocate’s conduct.

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