COURTSIDE: Bosanski Samac Trial

By Vjera Bogati in The Hague (TU 296, 13-17 January 2003)

COURTSIDE: Bosanski Samac Trial

By Vjera Bogati in The Hague (TU 296, 13-17 January 2003)

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005

Far from being an instrument in the events unfolding in the Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac in 1992, Tadic’s lawyer Novak Lukic claimed that Tadic simply “operated to the best interest of all citizens”.

Opening the defence case, Lukic said that these exchanges made it possible “to move people away from the war zones and reunite them with their families”.

Tadic was the president of the exchange commission in the Serbian municipality of Samac in the period from April 1992 until the end of war. He turned himself over to the authorities in February 1998.

The prosecution claim that non-Serb civilians who were expelled from their homes were charged money for the privilege of being exchanged – and only those who could pay were accepted for the programme.

But Tadic’s defence teams told the court that that was not the case – rather, the defendant took part in the exchanges “because he knew many people, was a reputable citizen, and a responsible and conscientious negotiator who was trusted by all parties”.

Numerous witnesses of the prosecution alleged that the local army unit was commanded from and located in a tavern owned by the accused. This has been denied by Tadic’s lawyers.

The key defence witness, demographer Svetlana Radovanovic, is expected to attempt to refute the findings of other prosecution analysts, about the numbers of Bosniaks and Croats who fled the area before the war.

It has been alleged that only 300 non-Serbs out of a population of some 17,000 remained in the area after the conflict.

Vjera Bogati is an IWPR correspondent in The Hague and a journalist with SENSE news agency.

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