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Prosecution Proceeds to Amend Two Indictments

Tribunal Update 54: Last Week in The Hague (November 24-28, 1997)

"Unable to produce evidence supporting this charge because the relevant witness has refused to testify"...the prosecutor is seeking to dismiss Counts 40 and 41 of the Celebici indictment. By those counts, Delic was charged, respectively, with a Grave Breach and a Violation of the Laws and Customs of War for "causing great suffering or serious injury to Miroslav Bozic".

In order to "further clarify information previously set forth, to provide more accurate information where it has become available and to make all parts of the indictment consistent", the prosecutor requests that Trial Chamber II grants leave to amend the Vukovar Hospital indictment.

This was issued on November 7 1995 against three officers of the Yugoslav Army (former JNA) and secretly amended on April 3 1996 to include former Vukovar major, Slavko Dokmanovic. In the meantime, the exhumation of a mass grave on the Ovcara farm near Vukovar, where the victims from the hospital were buried, had ocurred.

Thus, the prosecution is seeking a permission for the counts of the indictment to be harmonised with the results of the exhumation and any other new information gained in that interval.

The main alteration suggested concerns the number of the victims of the mass killing at Ovcara. The original indictment says that "approximately 260 captive non-Serb men" were killed on that occasion. The prosecutor now wants to change this to "approximately 200 Croatian and other non-Serb persons".

During the exhumation, carried out in September and December last year, the bodies of 198 men and two women were recovered from the mass grave at Ovcara. He also wants to make some changes in the list of names of the victims, deleting 10 names (five persons were still alive, five died elsewhere), while adding three others.

Finally, the Prosecutor wants to specify that the military unit to which accused officers Mrksic, Sljivancanin and Radic were assigned, was the "First Guards Motorised Brigade”, not the "Guards Brigade"; as well as defining the role of the fourth accused Slavko Dokmanovic, who "aided and abetted" the JNA and Serb paramiliary troops which committed the alleged crime.

According to Rule 50 of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the prosecutor may only amend an indictment after its confirmation with leave of the Trial Chamber.

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