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COURTSIDE: Prijedor Genocide Trial

By Vjera Bogati in The Hague (TU 297, 20-24 January 2003)

Momir Pusac, defence witness and doctor at the Banja Luka military hospital, described the Bosnian Serb army as an "autonomous organisation".

Her told the court, "Orders to my unit came exclusively from the corps command."

But prosecutor Ann Sutherland presented two documents that, she said, proved the opposite. One was a copy of an order, from the Prijedor crisis staff, for the army to secure Trnopolje camp.

The other one was a copy of another order, also from the crisis staff, instructing the army and police to form a special "intervention platoon" to deal with looting.

These, she said, showed the crisis staff could control the security forces.

Pusac said he was convinced that such civil-military cooperation suggested by these documents had never been implemented in practice.

Stakic's defence also says that blame for any war crimes should not be put on the crisis staff in Prijedor, because it had to execute the orders coming from the regional body in Banja Luka.

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

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