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Foca Cases - Krnojelac trial set to begin

Tribunal Update 192 Last Week in The Hague (September 25-30, 2000)

Last week the court hearing the Foca rape case announced closing arguments by the prosecution and defence would be heard between November 6-8.

Due to the rape trial ending earlier than expected, two of the judges will now be able to begin Krnojelac's trial sooner than previously expected.

Krnojelac, former warden of the Foca Penitentiary Institution, has been in custody for two years awaiting trial on charges of committing crimes against Bosniaks and other non-Serbs in Foca.

The indictment alleges that between April 1992 and August 1993 Krnojelac was responsible for running the Foca prison as a detention camp, where detainees were beaten and killed. Prosecutors have listed 29 deaths but believe the actual number was higher.

Krnojelac faces 18 counts, including persecuting Bosniaks and non-Serbs on racial, political and religious grounds, torture, murder, illegal detention, inflicting inhuman conditions and organising forced labour.

The indictment alleges he was party to the crimes by issuing orders to the guards, supervising their conduct and allowing soldiers access to the detainees. He is accused of committing crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war (see Tribunal Update No. 81).

Krnojelac, 60, who was arrested by Stabilisation Forces in Bosnia in June 1998, pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts. The defence is expected to argue the accused did not exercise sufficient power and authority in the prison to be held responsible for crimes committed within its confines.