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Kovacevic Defence Presses for Indictment to be Dropped

TU No 450, 28-Apr-06
Earlier this month, the tribunal declared Kovacevic unfit to stand trial due to mental health problems.

Kovacevic has been charged with murder and wilful damage to religious buildings and historic monuments in Dubrovnik. He was transferred to The Hague in October 2003 but was granted provisional release the following year to receive medical treatment in Serbia and Montenegro.

Kovacevic’s lawyers are objecting to an application by the prosecution for a hearing including representatives from the authorities in Belgrade to discuss his provisional release and “the legal framework for proceedings in Serbia and Montenegro”.

Such a hearing would be held under the tribunal’s 11bis rule which foresees the transfer of mid- and lower-ranking cases to local courts.

The accused’s lawyers argue that it should be up to the tribunal itself to “bring a final decision” on the case, without the involvement of Serbia and Montenegro.

With reference to the health problems of the accused, they also argue that “until a final decision has been reached, [the accused] shall not be in a position of getting adequate treatment”.

The judges said in their earlier ruling on Kovacevic’s heath that criminal proceedings against him could be reinstated if he is judged fit to stand trial at a later date.

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