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Operation Storm Indictment Cut

By Caroline Tosh in London (TU No 490, 23-Feb-07)
Judges in the case of three Croatian generals charged with crimes committed during Operation Storm in 1995 have ordered that the indictment against them be cut.

On February 21, judges confirmed an oral order made on February 9 to slash the charges against Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak.

The three are charged with the persecution and murder of Serbs in the Krajina region between August and November 1995 during a military offensive to reclaim Serb-held parts of Croatia.

On December 13 last year, the trial chamber - citing its duty to ensure a fair and expeditious trial - asked the prosecution to come up with proposals to cut the indictment “by at least a third”.

Prosecutors argued that the indictment was “already focused on the most important criminal charges”. They claimed that narrowing the case further could harm the prosecutor’s ability to try the accused.

However, they said if judges ordered them to cut the indictment, they would reduce the number of municipalities covered in the indictment from 20 to 14. They also proposed removing all allegations relating to the crimes allegedly committed in October and November 1995.

Judges have now ordered that these proposals be implemented. The trial will begin on May 7.

Caroline Tosh is an IWPR reporter.

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