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

Date Set for Macedonian Trial

By Sara Goodman in The Hague (TU No 497, 13-Apr-07)
The trial of the only two Macedonian indictees before the Hague tribunal will start later this month.

The former minister of the interior, Ljube Boskoski, and his ex-bodyguard, Johan Tarculovski, are charged with murder, destruction of cities, towns and villages and cruel treatment of the inhabitants of the predominately ethnic Albanian village of Ljuboten in Macedonia on August 12, 2001.

At a pre-trial conference this week, Judge Kevin Parker said the trial would begin on April 16 with an opening statement from prosecutors. The trial will then break until May 7, when the prosecution will present its first witnesses.

Judge Parker said there have been problems securing translations of important documents for the defence, and the three-week delay was necessary to allow the lawyers enough time to prepare properly.

The judge accepted the defence’s claim that technical problems, preventing it from using electronically submitted files from the prosecution, meant it took longer to translate and examine the documents.

The three-week delay is “likely to overcome most of the problems with translation and resolve any other issues as well”, said Judge Parker.

He apologised to witnesses having to rearrange their travel plans, but said the delay was necessary for a fair trial.

The trial is expected to be short, with prosecutors estimating they will need about 11 weeks to present their case.

Sara Goodman is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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