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Kupreskic and Others Trial

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

The difference being that, not only the majority of prosecution witnesses, but also many defence witnesses, requested a complete protection of identity in this trial that commenced in August last year.

Last week, two witnesses, both of them judges, testified publicly. Dijana Ajanovic, the former judge of the Higher Court in Zenica, in 1993 took the statements from the inhabitants of Ahmici who survived, of whom many appeared before the Tribunal as prosecution witnesses.

The Defence claimed that the statements of some of those witnesses significantly differed from the statements they gave to Judge Ajanovic concerning the same event immediately after that event. The defence counsels of the accused demanded that Judge Ajanovic describes how she took the above mentioned statements and whether the witnesses gave and signed them voluntarily.

The Judge of the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Vjenceslav Ilic, appeared as the defence's expert witness, and spoke on how the persecution on political, racial or religious grounds is defined in the national legislature, which is a common point of the indictment for all six accused.

The point of his testimony is that "concrete actions" committed by the participants in the persecution must be established, which the defence claims the prosecutor did not establish in this case, but is only basing the case on "general assessments", and not on concrete facts.

Besides, Judge Ilic confirmed the defence's argument that a member of a group - if he is not a commander - cannot take the responsibility for acts committed by other members of the same group.

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