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Kupreskic & Others trial: Defence brief coming to an end

Tribunal Update 131: Last Week in The Hague (21-27 June, 1999)

Apart from the general charge of persecution on political, racial or religious grounds, Josipovic was charged together with co-accused Vladimir Santic and other HVO soldiers, of attacking the home of Puscul family in Ahmici, forcibly removing the family, killing Musafer Puscul, vandalizing the home and then burning it to the ground. The Defence denies that Josipovic was anywhere near the house on the material day at the material time: they say that, on the contrary, he had been elsewhere helping his Muslim neighbours to hide in the house of a local Croat.

The Defence further claims that he did not wear a uniform and was not armed, and that he was mobilized into HVO only on the following day, i.e. after the massacre. The Defence last week tried to prove all those claims with as many as 10 witnesses, two of whom testified in sessions that were closed to the public throughout, and another two at hearings that were partially closed to the public.

Kupreskic & Others trial is expected to continue on 5 July with the deposition of testimonies of Defence witnesses of defendant Vladimir Santic. Four of the defendants (Zoran, Mirjan and Vlatko Kupreskic, and Dragan Papic) are to appear in the witness box after that. Josipovic and Santic are for the time being successfully resisting the temptation to swap the defendants' dock for the witness box and thus run a risk of not only being asked questions by their Defence counsels, but also by the Prosecutor and the judges.