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General Krstic Pleads Not Guilty On Amended Indictment

Tribunal Update 153: Last Week in The Hague (November 22-27, 1999)
By IWPR

The indictment, dated November 2, 1998 accused Krstic, 51, of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.


"Between July 11 and 18 1995, VRS forces under the command and control of Ratko Mladic and Radislav Krstic participated in numerous incidents of opportunistic killings of Bosnian Muslim men shortly after they had been captured, as well as their systematic summary executions", the indictment says.


"The forces under the command of the accused either expelled or killed most of the members of the Bosnian Muslim population of the Srebrenica enclave. As a result of those actions, the VRS forces virtually eliminated the Muslim presence there."


Krstic was arrested in an SFOR action on December 2 last year. Five days later he pleaded not guilty to the charges of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution. The prosecutor has added to the original indictment two additional counts and one other element was added to count 6. All the additional charges relate to deportations.


The new counts, 7 and 8, read as follows: "Beginning on July 11 1995 and continuing to July 13 1995, Radislav Krstic committed, planned, instigated, ordered or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of a crime against humanity, that is, the deportation or forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslims from the Srebrenica enclave.


According to count 7 he is responsible for "Deportation, a Crime against humanity, punishable under Article 5(d), and 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal", and, according to count 8 "Inhumane acts (forcible transfer), a Crime against humanity (punishable under the above mentioned articles)."


Additional specifications about the structure of the VRS and the Drina Corps, Krstic's positions in the VRS and their duration, were also included, after the defence objected that the indictment was imprecise. Five attachments have been added to the indictment, in which the prosecutor graphically presents the Drina Corps area of responsibility, the military chain of command of Republika Srpska, Drina Corps command staff and its subordinate units.


Prosecutor Mark Harmon also explained to the judges that technical amendments were added to various paragraphs but that those were "slight changes, not substantial" in nature.


Presiding judge Almiro Rodrigues allowed the accused to remain seated as he entered the pleas (Krstic is handicapped). To the judge's question, he said that his cell in the Hague detention unit is "somewhat adjusted to his condition", but described the therapy provided in custody as inadequate for a person with an amputated leg.


Krstic is being defended by Nenad Petrusic, who was absent at the entering of his plea, and Tomislav Visnjic. A decision on the date of the beginning of the trial will be made at a status conference scheduled for December 6.