Vujin's Contempt Hearing Continues

Tribunal Update 141: Last Week in The Hague (August 30 - September 5, 1999)

Vujin's Contempt Hearing Continues

Tribunal Update 141: Last Week in The Hague (August 30 - September 5, 1999)

Sunday, 5 September, 1999

Although it refused to accept this as a ground for Tadic's appeal, the Appeals Chamber nevertheless decided to examine the allegations and find out whether Vujin could be held in contempt of the Tribunal.

Judging by the account given by last week's witness, Milovan Brkic, a Belgrade journalist with a rather controversial reputation, not only Tadic but all other detained Serbs are victims of a conspiracy forged by the Yugoslav Security Service.

According to the statement Brkic gave to the Tribunal in February this year, and summarised by Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen before the court last week, Milan Vujin was part of the machinery of the State, tasked to ensure that high positioned people in Serbia or Republika Srpska would not be exposed to risk from the defence of any indictee.

According to Brkic, president Milosevic ordered his security service to select a group of lawyers to influence proceedings. Lawyers, said Brkic, were carefully selected on the basis of Security service's files. They were supposed to threaten indictees to keep their mouth shut and even incite them to commit suicide. The individuals indicted by the Tribunal are of no interest to the state authorities, and their families are hostages in the FRY - Brkic claims.

If this is to be believed, even Tadic's arrest and his transfer to the Tribunal is the result of a conspiracy by the Yugoslav secret service...

According to the official version, Tadic was arrested in Munich by the German police in February 1994 on the basis of the report by a Bosnian refugee who recognised him. Brkic says this is not true and claims that the Yugoslav secret service invited Tadic to some karate tournament, and then "packed him up" and transferred to Germany and surrendered to their police. But this, according to Brkic, was done in order to "test" the work of the Tribunal.

Brkic claims a source in the Security Service, whose name and function, as he said, he "could not reveal... because that would mean writing a death sentence for him".

That source, Brkic says, told him about the meeting of a group of selected lawyers which comprised, apart from Milan Vujin, other well-known Belgrade lawyers such as Veljko Guberina and Toma Fila. According to Brkic, the meeting was attended by Fila - the former defence lawyer of Slavko Dokmanovic, who committed suicide in custody. There, Fila allegedly said: "There is no client that I could not sell, I am the biggest Judas".

Long before he testified about this before the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber, Brkic presented the accusations in an article published in the paper Srpska rec, which is published by the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement led by Vuk Draskovic. After his article, six lawyers filed charges against Brkic in Belgrade, though two withdrew the charges soon afterwards. A judgement has not been delivered.

Last week, Brkic claimed before the court that he has concrete evidence that Vujin manipulated the evidence and undermined Tadic's defence. He claims he had sight of the documents of the Security Service to which Vujin (like other lawyers included in this alleged scheme) regularly submitted reports about his work in The Hague.

As an example of the claimed way the defence would be undermined, Brkic claims that Vujin did not present to the court the collected statements of witnesses prepared to testify in Tadic's favour, nor did he inform the accused himself that these statements existed. He allegedly did this "because for Vujin, the regime came before his client".

Vujin, who was present in the courtroom for the contempt hearing, was represented by Belgrade lawyer Vladimir Domazet. He tried to dispute the credibility of the witness, noting that Brkic had published three "invented interviews" and read before the court an excerpt of a judgement from the Belgrade District Court that ruled the articles to be false.

Brkic responded that the judge who made that decision was a member of the ruling party's Central Committee, and that the subject of the court proceeding was whether the private plaintiff Borka Vucic - Milosevic's leading banker - has right to publish a denial, not whether Brkic's interviews were forged.

Mladen Tadic, the brother of accused Dusko Tadic, testified in the same hearing last week. He said that he personally hired Vujin on the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade and that he was not satisfied with his conduct as part of the team headed by the Dutch lawyer Michail Wladimiroff.

While Wladimiroff had problems with the authorities of Republika Srpska who obstructed the investigation and the access to the witnesses, Vujin, Mladen Tadic said, had all the doors open. But in spite of that, he said Vujin failed to bring witnesses and find evidence that Dusko Tadic was not in Kozarac on the critical day of the crimes for which he was sentenced.

He also claims that lawyer-friends warned him about Vujin, that he was "a regime lawyer, listening to the dictates". And, the dictates, according to him, were "to prevent the truth about Kozarac be told and to make Tadic responsible for that".

Vujin's contempt hearing is continuing this week.

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