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Kordic & Cerkez Trial

Tribunal Update 124: Last Week in The Hague (3-8 May, 1999)

Since the trial deals with alleged crimes committed by the HVO against the Muslims civilians in Central Bosnia, one may assume, that they are victims or eye-witnesses from that part of Bosnia, who even three and a half years after Dayton do not feel sufficiently safe in order to publicly testify about what they saw or survived.

Edib Zlotrg, the policeman from Stari Vitez, was the only one to testify publicly last week. Stari Vitez is a part of the town of Vitez, that was under the siege of the HVO throughout the entire war, although it stayed under the control of the Army of B-H. Zlotrg testified about the criminal acts committed out of "ethnic motives" which he registered in 1992-1993 as a part of his official duty.

The witness mentioned accused Mario Cerkez, who at the time was the commander of the brigade of HVO in Vitez, in relation to two incidents. In May 1992, Zlotrg claims, Cerkez was in a group of HVO soldiers who violently took control over one business which was owned by a Serb. The second incident refers to the murder of one Muslim in the Vitez Hotel, where the HVO headquarters was located.

In the police report of this incident, it says that one HVO guard fired a shot, but the witness questions the accuracy of that report, citing that there was a word that the victim was killed personally by accused Cerkez. It is certain that this incident will be discussed during the continuation of the trial, although it is not certain that this will happen in the hearings open to the public.

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