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COURTSIDE: Jokic and Ademi Cases

Two more Hague indictees are granted provisional release.

Judge Liu Daqun permitted the temporary release of Yugoslav admiral Milorad Jokic and Croatian general Rahim Ademi last week, bringing to eight the number of Hague indictees allowed to return home pending their trial.

The move is in keeping with the opinion expressed last December by Judge Wolfgang Schomburg that it should be the rule rather than the exception for Hague indictees to be released from custody while awaiting trial - at least those who surrendered voluntarily to the tribunal.

Jokic will await the tribunal summons in Serbia and Ademi in Croatia. Along with three other former JNA officers, the former was accused over the shelling of Dubrovnik in 1991, while the latter was charged with the killing Croatian Serb civilians in the Medak pocket during a local Croatian offensive against the break-away Republic of Serbian Krajina in 1993.

The trial chamber dealing with the two provisional release requests was satisfied by the oral and written assurances it received from both the accused and their governments. Serbia and Croatia promised to monitor the defendants and ensure they reappeared for their trials and would not pose any danger to victims or witnesses.

They were helped by the fact that they voluntarily surrendered and because neither trial is expected to start soon. Their release increased to eight the number of accused awaiting the trial as free people. Biljana Plavsic, a former Bosnian Serb leader, Jokic's co-accused General Pavle Strugar, and four former Bosnian army commanders, Generals Sefer Halilovic, Enver Hadzihasanovic, Mehmed Alagic and Colonel Amir Kubura, were released last year.

Vjera Bogati is an IWPR special correspondent at The Hague and a journalist with SENSE News Agency.

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