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Kovacevic Case: Prosecution Motion Denied

Tribunal Update 65: Last Week in the Hague (February 23-28, 1998)

As Kovacevic was arrested in July last year, Prosecutor Michael Keegan explained the reason behind the delay in submitting the motion was the prolonged investigation as well as the fact that - due to the medical condition of the accused - his further stay in detention was uncertain.

Kovacevic looked much better on Friday than during his earlier appearances before the Court.

The Defence opposed the Prosecutor's request, referring to the European Covenant on Civil and Political Rights according to which the accused at the moment of arrest must be told "any charges" against him.

The second argument put forth by defenders - Dusan Vucicevic and Antony D'Amato - was that in the case the Prosecutor were to expand the indictment with the announced 14 new counts - the Defence would need at least 6 additional months to prepare for the beginning of trial, which would violate the right of the accused to be tried without undue delay.

The Trial Chamber eventually concluded that it is "far too late to amend the indictment" and rejected the Prosecutor's Motion, announcing that it will furnish its explanation later.

This means that the trial of Milan Kovacevic could begin in April or May, as soon as the construction of the second courtroom is completed.

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