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Jelisic's Initial Appearance

Tribunal Update 61: Last Week in The Hague (January 26-30, 1998)
By IWPR ICTY

His nickname 'Adolf' or 'Serbian Adolf', is all that he will admit to, however. The remaining allegations in the indictment (see Update 60) were dismissed by Jelisic as 'lies', 'garbage' and 'fabrications'. He pleaded 'absolutely not guilty' to each and every one of the 56 counts against him: one for genocide, 18 for Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions; 18 for Crimes against Humanity, and 19 for Violations of the Laws or Customs of War. 'Even the real Adolf did not face so many charges,' Jelisic's Belgrade lawyer Igor Pantelic told journalists. He has predicted that 'the case will be difficult'.

Some of the charges could be dropped before the beginning of the trial, but that would make the case easier for the prosecution, rather than the defence. American prosecutor Teree Bowers announced that his team is willing to drop 18 counts of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Convention 'in order to speed up the trial'. If that were to happen the prosecution would not have to prove that the alleged crimes in Camp Luka were committed in the context of the international conflict. This aspect of the War Crimes Tribunal is likely to be left for a trial of more magnitude, for example, Radovan Karadzic or Ratko Mladic.

The starting date for Jelisic's trial will be determined before the end of January, Presiding Judge Claude Jorda announced at the end of the hearing.