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

Seselj Indictment to be Cut for Speedier Justice

(TU No 469, 22-Sep-06)
Currently Seselj is charged with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture and inhumane acts. He is accused of forming a joint criminal enterprise with the late Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and the fugitive Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic between 1991 and 1993 in order to create a “Greater Serbia”.

At a status conference last week, Presiding Judge Alfons Orie requested that the prosecution look into ways of streamlining the indictment.

Senior trial attorney Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff said in a submission on September 21 that the prosecution is willing to drop all charges relating to Western Slavonia and is prepared to withdraw allegations holding Seselj responsible for crimes in Vocin, Hum, Bokane and Kraskovic.

This will reduce the number of witnesses and significantly speed up the judicial process.

However, Uertz-Retzlaff made it clear that the prosecution team would want to cite evidence relating to Western Slavonia as proof of a joint criminal enterprise in this region. If this is not possible, Uertz-Retzlaff said the prosecution would not drop these charges, as doing so would seriously harm its case.

The prosecution is also prepared to drop all charges in two municipalities in Bosnia – Brcko and Bijeljina – on the proviso that evidence from there could still be used to establish the existence of a joint criminal enterprise in Bosnia.

Lastly, the prosecution said it was prepared to entirely drop from the indictment one crime site on the mountain of Borasnica in Nevesinje.

where 19 Muslim men are alleged to have been killed by paramilitary units known as “Seselj’s men”.

Judge Orie announced that Seselj’s trial will begin on November 2.