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Simic And Avramovic Acquitted Of Contempt

Tribunal Update 170, Last Week in The Hague (27 March - 1 April, 2000)

The prosecution had filed a request for a confidential hearing on the charges in May 1999. The contempt hearings began on September 29 1999 and concluded on December 2. (See Tribunal Update Nos. 146 and 154).

Simic is one of four Serbs facing trial for alleged participation in atrocities committed against Muslims and Croats in Bosanski Samac. Simic surrendered to the Tribunal in February 1998. Confined to a wheelchair following a car accident in 1993, Simic was subsequently released from pre-trial custody.

The prosecution alleged that, during his provisional release, Simic and Avramovic telephoned a potential witness, known as "Agnes", and offered money, a flat and a job in exchange for testimony that Simic was not in the Bosnaski Samac school building used by the Bosnian Serbs as a prison at the time of the crimes.

Peter Haynes, representing Simic and Avramovic, claimed Agnes only approached the Tribunal because he "wanted to find somewhere else to live." According to Haynes, Agnes was an "utterly unreliable witness" who "repeatedly lied under oath."