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'Lugar's Papers' Case

Tribunal Update 93: Last Week in The Hague (14-19, September 1998)

Miljkovic died of multiple gunshots to the chest and abdomen on 8 August 1998, in Serbia's Kragujevac (see Update 88). He was killed by a policeman in a pub brawl. As far as the Tribunal is concerned, his case is now closed.

At the same time, however, the case of documents which Miljkovic's lawyer Tatomir Lekovic had submitted to the court, dubbed by the Serbian media as "Lugar's papers", has been opened. The Serbian authorities have raised criminal charges against the lawyer for "libel and dissemination of false news" over the papers.

Lawyer Lekovic stated publicly that two months before his death Miljkovic brought him a sealed envelope and told him to hand it over to the Tribunal in case something happened to him. He also stated that the file contains evidence about the involvement of the Serbian police in the war and in war crimes in Bosnia.

Miljkovic was the first co-accused on the indictment for ethnic cleansing of the municipality of Bosanski Samac, where some 17,000 Bosnian Croats and Muslims were killed or driven out in 1992 and 1993. Besides Miljkovic, five more people were indicted for the same acts, of whom three are already detained in The Hague. Defendants Milan Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric, pleaded "not guilty" to an amended indictment two weeks ago (see Update 92).

The Tribunal's spokesman, Christian Chartier, confirmed last week that "Lugar's papers" are in the possession of the ICTY, saying that they have yet to be assessed. The Tribunal will have to establish whether they really contain what lawyer Lekovic and other sources in Serbia claim they do.

The Tribunal, Chartier says, receives papers and documents every day, and whether they will ever be used for indictments or as evidence in the trials depends on expert assessment. They are aware of the threats to which lawyer Lekovic is exposed, Chartier, added, and are attentively following the development of his "case" in Serbia.

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