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

Markac and Cermak Oppose Trial with Gotovina

TU No 443, 10-Mar-06
The lawyers argue that the joining of the cases would “prejudice and endanger [the accused’s] right to have a fair and expeditious trial”.

All three generals are accused of being members of a joint criminal enterprise, led by the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, with the goal of forcibly expelling 200,000 Croatian Serbs in 1995 during an operation by Croatian forces to regain a third of its territory after four years of war.

Markac and Cermak surrendered voluntarily in March 2004, but Gotovina was only picked up at the end of 2005 in Spain. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Markac and Cermak’s defence teams insist they are already two years ahead in preparation for the trial. Goran Mikulicic, Markac’s lawyer, told IWPR “they would be waiting a long [time] for Gotovina’s team to catch up”.

That negates, say the lawyers, the prosecutor’s main argument that a joinder would enable a “fast and expeditious trial”.

Gotovina’s lawyers have not yet been officially confirmed. During his initial appearance they had to remain in the public gallery.

The prosecutor’s office made the request for a joinder in February this year.

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