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General Talic's Initial Appearance

Tribunal Update 141: Last Week in The Hague (August 30 - September 5, 1999)

Australian judge David Hunt accepted the proposal by Tadic and his temporary defence counsel, Belgrade lawyer, Vladimir Petrovic, not to have the indictment read out to him, since the accused, as it was said, had read it in Serbian several times and fully understood it.

Asked to rise, Tadic - charged with committing a crime against humanity by participating in the persecution of the non-Serbian population of Bosnian Krajina on political, racial or religious grounds - said in a resolute military manner: "Not guilty."

At the time referred to in the indictment, Talic was the commander of the 5th Corps of the JNA, renamed as the 1st Krajina Corps of the Army of the Republika Srpska. In that capacity, Talic was a member of the Crisis Staff of the Serb Autonomous Region of Bosnian Krajina, which, according to the indictment, had full control over the ethnic cleansing of that part of Bosnia of its non-Serb population.

President of the Crisis Staff, Radoslav Brdjanin, who has been in the Tribunal's custody since July 6, is accused of the same acts. He also pleaded not guilty of ethnic cleansing of some 100,000 Bosnian Muslims and Croats, which according to the indictment, is the number of killed or expelled from Banja Luka, Prijedor, Sanski Most and other municipalities of Bosnian Krajina during 1992.

Talic and Brdjanin will be tried together. It has not been ruled out that they may later be joined by other members of the Crisis Staff, whose names may be under the Tribunal's seal.

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