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

Oric Defence Angered by Prosecution Conduct

TU No 445, 24-Mar-06
The trial chamber ordered the parties to submit their closing briefs on March 17, so they could be read in time for the final arguments, which will be heard in court during the first week of April.

Naser Oric has been charged with both failing to punish soldiers under his command for abusing prisoners held in Srebrenica and commanding Muslim fighters in attacks on Serb villages in eastern Bosnia in 1992 and 1993.

The defence has complained that the prosecution’s document, which was still marked “draft” on every page, has “whole pages…repeated”, “whole paragraphs…missing”, and that the text is full of the “prosecutors’ own notes and queries to themselves”.

According to Oric’s lawyers, this not only “brings [the tribunal’s] proceedings into disrepute”, but also means that when the prosecution have submitted a corrected version, they will have had the chance to see the defence’s closing brief and make changes to their own version accordingly.

This, the defence claim, will cause “grave prejudice” to their case.

In a legal document filed at the tribunal on the same day, the prosecution apologised to both the defence and the trial chamber, and suggested that the defence might be allowed to have an extension of time for work on any response they may have to the prosecution’s document.

The trial chamber has agreed that the defence will now have until March 27 to respond to the prosecution’s corrected brief.

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