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Galic Case - Judges Reprimand Defence Lawyer For 'Flagrant Neglect'

Tribunal Update 184 Last Week in The Hague (July 10-15, 2000)

Galic is accused of the shelling of Sarajevo and of organising a sniping campaign against civilians in the town.

During the last week's hearing, judge Almiro Rodrigues read a lengthy list of "serious failures by a defence counsel to fulfil his obligations."

Among other things, the judge said, Kostich would come to hearings unprepared, was late in lodging preliminary objections and often failed to collect documents left in his mail box by the court's secretariat.

According to the judges, Kostich had failed to show "initiative and diligence" or the "due devotion demanded of a defence lawyer." His was a case of "flagrant neglect" and "poor use or ignorance of the rules applied before the Tribunal."

The judges, Rodrigues pointed out, have an obligation to ensure the rights of the defendant are upheld, especially in a case as grave as Galic's, where the defendant faces a long sentence if found guilty.

The judges concluded the Trial Chamber had requested it be noted in the court records that a formal warning had been issued to Kostich.

The decision on whether to grant Galic a temporary release would be made and announced later, the judge said.

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