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

Witness Testimony Gets Underway at ICJ

TU No 445, 24-Mar-06
On March 17, Harvard University Islamic architecture expert Andras Riedlmayer spoke on behalf of Bosnia about issues relating to the destruction of the country's cultural and religious heritage.

He was followed on March 20 by the Sarajevo team's second and last witness, British General Sir Richard Dannatt. The Bosnian lawyers decided not to call Robert Donia, an American historian who was also set to give evidence.

The first witness who was set to appear for the Serbian team, former Yugoslav president Zoran Lilic, also failed to turn up, having decided not to testify.

Instead, first to speak on behalf of Belgrade was former Republika Srpska premier Vladimir Lukic. Lukic, who was involved in the Dayton peace process, discussed relations between the Republika Srpska and Belgrade. It is Bosnia's contention that the latter provided local Serbs with vital support during the war in Bosnia.

Next up was Vitomir Popovic, a former deputy premier of Republika Srpska who is currently Bosnia's ombudsman. His testimony was set to cover similar matters to Lukic's, as well as discussing crimes that were committed in Bosnia during the war.

On March 24, Serbia called British General Sir Michael Rose, who commanded the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia and was due to speak about the allegations of genocide and the relationship between the Bosnian Serb army and Belgrade.

His testimony was followed by evidence from Jean-Paul Sardon, the director of the French National Institute for Demographic Studies, who was due to discuss the number of victims of the conflict.

Journalists have been asked not to publish specific details of the content of any of the testimony until all the witnesses have been heard. The last witness is set to appear on March 28.

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