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COURTSIDE: Marinic Case

Call for Bosnian Croat policeman to be tried by a local court.
By Mirna Jancic

Prosecutors last week suggested that the tribunal should transfer the case of low-level indictee Zoran Marinic to a court in Bosnia.

The accused, a Bosnian Croat military policeman from central Bosnia, is charged with war crimes against Muslims in the area during the Bosniak-Croat conflict in 1993.

The request comes in the wake of tribunal's announcement that it will deal primarily with high-level suspects, leaving local courts to hear cases involving lower-ranking individuals.

The prosecutor's office cites the "aim of balancing available resources and the need to prosecute cases fairly and expeditiously" as justification for its request. As a low-level indictee, Marinic "does not meet the requirement of the prosecutorial strategies of the office of the prosecutor".

It suggests local courts are competent to prosecute the accused, though it does not specify which type of court should handle such cases. War crimes trials are already being held in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the cantonal and district courts of the country's two entities.

In the meantime, the tribunal has encouraged the creation of a special war crimes chamber in Bosnia's state court, to which it hopes to transfer a number of low-level cases.

Marinic's indictment was issued in 1995, and his arrest warrant was issued in 1996. As his whereabouts are unknown and he has no representative counsel at the tribunal, the prosecutors have asked the court to waive the requirement that the defendant and his lawyers be informed of the decision.

Mirna Jancic is an IWPR assistant editor

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