Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Kupreskic and Others Trial: Still Behind Closed Doors

Tribunal Update 95: Last Week in The Hague (28 September - 4 October, 1998)
By IWPR ICTY

Out of 38 witnesses who have appeared so far, some 30 asked for their identities not to be revealed. The original plan was for most of their evidence to be relayed to the public in an adjacent room by video, as usual, but with their faces and voices distorted in order to make identification impossible. But despite that, their evidence was closed to the public. The main reason was that many questions, in cross-examination in particular, related to other people whose identities are also secret.

After the defence counsels let some of the protected names slip out during the first two weeks of the trial, it was decided that the public be excluded whenever the defence or prosecutors ask witnesses about other people. Given that such questions are very frequent, the trial of Zoran, Mirjan and Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vlado Santic is mostly held behind closed doors or with the video link sound switched off so that the public weren't able to follow proceedings.

According to the adopted schedule, the prosecution should complete its presentation of evidence by 16 October. This will be followed by a month long break before the defence opens its case. During this break Trial Chamber II (Presiding Antonio Cassese; Judges Richard May and Florence Mumba), together with the prosecution and the defence counsel, will spend one working day--probably 20 October--at the site of the crime in what is left of the village of Ahmici.