NICE ASSESSES ICTY PROSECUTION RECORD Former deputy prosecutor speaks frankly 
about controversies surrounding tribunal prosecution policy. By Merdijana 
Sadovic in Sarajevo 

elected war crimes suspect rules his presence not necessary at the inaugural 
session. By Goran Jungvirth in Zagreb

peacekeeper patrols within the enclave prior to its fall. By Simon Jennings in 
The Hague 

taken against family members of war crimes fugitives suspected of helping them 
escape justice. By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo

another delay in his trial. By Simon Jennings in The Hague


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Former deputy prosecutor speaks frankly about controversies surrounding 
tribunal prosecution policy.

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo 

Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent British lawyer and former prosecutor in the case 
against ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, probably didn't expect to be 
on the cover of last week's special edition of the Croatian political magazine 
Globus dedicated to the ten most important personalities and newsmakers in 
Croatia in 2007 - all of them Croats bar Nice. 

However, those who regularly read newspapers in the region were not surprised 
that Nice proved to be so popular. He recently received a lot of media 
attention there - and in the rest of former Yugoslavia - for his open criticism 
of the ex-Hague tribunal chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and the alleged 
concessions she made to the Serbian government to persuade them to cooperate 
with the Office of the Prosecutor.

I met a tired-looking Nice in Sarajevo on a cold December morning in the lobby 
of his hotel. He said he hadn't slept much the night before because of a loud 
Christmas party in the hotel restaurant. He had protested about the noise, but 
his pleas had been ignored. He seemed, though, only slightly annoyed by the 
incident, displaying the sort of patience and composure that served him well at 
the tribunal. A Queen's Counsel and one of Britain's leading barristers, he was 
knighted last year for his work at the court.

Nice, 62, was recruited to the tribunal's Office for the Prosecutor, OTP, in 
1998 and was involved in several important cases, most notably serving as 
deputy prosecutor in the Milosevic trial. 

When Milosevic died in March 2006, only a few months before his mammoth trial 
was due to finish, some observers suggested that prosecutors were partly to 
blame for the failure to secure a conviction. They argued that the trial would 
have been much shorter had the indictment against Milosevic not been so 
ambitious, covering three wars spanning almost ten years.

But Nice disagrees with this assertion.

"The question about [Milosevic's indictment] being over ambitious often enough 
stems from the question whether the trial was too long. The length of the trial 
was determined as much as anything else by Milosevic's ill health and by his 
determination to conduct every aspect of the defence case on his own, and the 
judges feeling obliged or being compelled to yield in one way or another to 
those facts or factors," he said.

Nice claims that had the proceedings been conducted five days a week, with 
normal trial days of about five hours, the case would have probably lasted a 
total of two years, which he says is not too long.

"The breadth of the indictments was chosen because it was thought appropriate, 
and I thought this was right, to look at the overall behaviour of Milosevic and 
his developing criminality - if it was criminality; his responsibility over 
time for the crimes that were committed. And that's what an international 
criminal tribunal is for," he added. 

Milosevic's trial was probably the largest international trial ever held, with 
Nice conducting all aspects of the investigation, as well as the presentation 
of the case in court. 

Nice agrees that the decision of the then chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, to 
focus the entire case solely on Milosevic was a big mistake, because when he 
died, the case ended. Had other Serbian top military and political leaders been 
indicted with him, he said, "the trial process would not have ended with 
Milosevic's death, because there would have been others against whom it would 
have continued. 

"And it is easy to argue that it should have been against others, because 
however much one might like to say that Milosevic was the most powerful of all 
the personalities present, operations were done through governmental mechanisms 
for which others might have born more responsibility."

In several interviews he gave to the media in Croatia and Bosnia over the last 
few months, Nice expressed strong disagreement with Del Ponte's indictments 
policy, saying she was too eager to prove that the tribunal was not anti-Serb, 
and that such a policy led to some very weak indictments, particularly those 
against certain former Bosnian army and Kosovo Liberation Army officers. 

Turning to the nature and status of the tribunal itself, Nice said it is 
"clearly a political court", and that prosecutors working there are in a 
difficult position, because "this court has to serve political objectives 
identified by the UN when it was set up. 

"But meeting those political objectives is one thing, and adjusting the 
standards by which you make a decision on whether you should indict someone 
where his liberty is at stake is another. And the political consideration 
should never under any circumstances outweigh the responsibility to apply the 
letter of the law in deciding whether to indict someone." 

Another subject that Nice is often asked about is the furore surrounding the 
transcripts of Serbia's Supreme Defense Council, SDC, which the tribunal 
acquired in controversial circumstances. He is one of the few people who had a 
chance to read the unredacted version of the documents which, many observers 
believe, could prove Serbia's alleged involvement in the wars in Bosnia and 
Croatia in the early Nineties. 

Not surprisingly, he carefully avoids questions about the content of these 
documents, but he does confirm that what's in them is very important. 

Serbia handed over a large portion of SDC transcripts to the tribunal several 
years ago so that they could be used in the case against Milosevic. But the 
Serbian government also demanded that the documents, for the most part, remain 

Nice never hid his disagreement with Del Ponte's decision to grant Serbia's 
demand for the transcripts to be concealed. 

"I could see no justification in law ever for these documents being subject to 
the protection that was afforded them, and from that it follows that I can see 
no justification for them being subject to continued protection. It is 
extremely important that they should be made available in full," he said

"But let me issue a health warning - the documents do not provide in any sense 
a simple answer to any of the outstanding questions. They provide much more 
context, they provide much more detail, they provide more evidence about the 
states of mind of, not just Milosevic, but other people sitting in that 
council, and would have enabled fact- finders and decision-makers to make 
better and deeper judgments about what was going on."

In April last year, Nice wrote open letters to the International Herald Tribune 
and Croatia's daily Jutarnji list, in which he stated adamantly that he never 
supported Del Ponte's decision to grant Serbia's requests for the SDC 
transcripts to be kept confidential.

He also claimed that there was "no conceivable reason for making a deal with 
Yugoslavia. It served only one purpose: to keep Belgrade's responsibility from 
public scrutiny and, significantly, from the International Court of Justice".

These letters won him many supporters in Croatia. Explaining their decision to 
include Nice on list of the country's top ten personalities for 2007, the 
editors of Globus said that in his open letters he "exposed, as much as it was 
in his power, the functioning of Del Ponte and her political decisions, which 
led to concessions to the Serbian government that are impossible to 

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR's Hague tribunal programme manager.


A judge hearing case of newly elected war crimes suspect rules his presence not 
necessary at the inaugural session. 

By Goran Jungvirth in Zagreb

Croatian war crimes suspect Branimir Glavas was refused permission to attend 
the opening of parliament this week, despite having been elected to the chamber 
late last year.

Judge Zeljko Horvatovic ruled that his presence was not necessary at the first 
sitting, even though Prime Minister Ivo Sanader earlier said he would attend 
the inaugural session. 

Glavas has been on hunger strike for two months to protest the refusal of the 
Zagreb court trying him for war crimes to release him from custody, and his 
health has deteriorated significantly. On January 11, the same day as the 
inaugural session, Glavas was released from prison due to his poor health. It 
is unclear when his trial will resume. 

While ex-general Glavas, along with six other Croatians, is accused of 
murdering Serb civilians at the beginning of Croatia's 1991-5 war of 
independence, he remains a popular politician in his native Osijek, a city in 
the far east of the country.

Glavas is on trial with Dino Kontic, Ivica Krnjak, Gordana Getos Magdic, Mirko 
Sivic, Tihomir Valentic and Zdravko Dragic.

This week, the trial chamber also heard allegations from some of the other 
defendants that the police had sought to extort confessions from them.

Although Dragic earlier confessed to police that he participated in the 
killings, he told the court he had been tricked into it by his cousin, police 
officer Vjekoslav Tapsanj.

Although he admitted membership of a patrol unit headed by a now-dead war 
crimes suspect, he said he was only in that unit between November and Christmas 
1991 and never fought with it.

Dragic claimed he had been threatened with another prosecution, and also 
offered the status of a protected witness if he testified against Glavas and 
the other co-accused.

"In the worst case scenario, I was to get two or three years in prison, but the 
probability was that I would be a free man. It should say in that statement 
that the act was conducted under compulsion," he said.

Dragic said Tapsanj had shown him a statement on a computer screen and told 
him, "Here is everything, read, learn and that is how you are going to testify."

Another controversy emerged regarding a meeting between former Osijek chief of 
police Vladimir Faber and the sister of defendant Getos Magdic.

Getos Magdic, who has been in custody for more than 14 months already, accused 
Osijek chief of police Vladimir Faber of trying to force her sister to pass on 
instructions to her to accuse Glavas of ordering the murders.

She said Faber had offered her a shorter prison term in exchange for her 
testifying against Glavas. Ana Marija Getos recorded the meeting, and a 
transcript was published in the Nacional news weekly.

Sanader ordered an emergency investigation into the affair, while Glavas's 
attorneys have demanded that Faber be removed from the Parole Commission

The interior ministry said on January 9 that the meeting had been conducted 
entirely at Faber's own initiative and without its knowledge. The state 
attorney's office, meanwhile, said that while it did not know the meeting had 
taken place, it could not question Faber's professional integrity.

The trial this week also heard from Kontic's defence. He denied all charges in 
the so-called "Sellotape case", in which the defendants are accused of covering 
their victims' mouths with sticky tape and dumping their bodies in the river 

Serb civilian Radoslav Ratkovic is the only survivor of the crime.

Kontic dismissed allegations that he drove Dragic, who is his brother-in-law, 
to the site where the civilians were allegedly killed. 

"I drove Zdravko Dragic during the war, I don't remember exactly where but 
certainly I didn't drive him to any kind of execution, neither was I present 
during such a thing," said Kontic.

Kontic also said he had never seen Ratkovic before. Valentic also denied ever 
knowing Ratkovic, "I didn't know him, nor did I know he was hurt, like it says 
in the indictment." 

Valentic said he would never harm anyone, whatever religion they were. He said, 
for example, that he had saved one Serbian family from Sarvas by bringing them 
to Osijek.

Goran Jungvirth is an IWPR journalist in Zagreb.



Witness says Serbs obstructed peacekeeper patrols within the enclave prior to 
its fall.

By Simon Jennings in The Hague 

A former United Nations observer in the Bosnian "safe area" of Srebrenica this 
week testified that Bosnian Serb forces, VRS, were already present in the 
enclave in the run-up to its takeover in July 1995.

He said that their presence hampered the movement of the UN peacekeeping forces.

"They prevented us going further towards the ceasefire line, meaning they were 
already inside the enclave," Kenyan Colonel Joseph Kingori told the tribunal in 
The Hague. 

Kingori served as a UN military observer during the fall of the demilitarised 
zone of Srebrenica during the summer of 1995. 

More than 8,000 Bosniaks were killed after the town fell to the VRS in the 
largest act of mass murder in Europe since World War Two.

He was testifying at the trial of seven high-ranking Bosnian Serb military and 
police officials - Vujadin Popovic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Ljubisa Beara, Vinko 
Pandurevic and Drago Nikolic - who face genocide and war crimes charges, and 
Radivoj Miletic and Milan Gvero, who are accused of blocking aid and supplies 
to Srebrenica. 

Before the tribunal's winter recess, Kingori described events in the 
UN-protected region before and after the advance of forces from Republica 
Srpska, the self-proclaimed Serb statelet in Bosnia.

Popovic's defence counsel put it to Kingori that no member of "Dutchbat", the 
UN peacekeeping force in Srebrenica, had reported that Serb forces had crossed 
into the enclave before it fell. 

"The [VRS] were to the southern side. When we patrolled, we could talk to them. 
They were inside the enclave, but if you told them that they said, 'No'," said 

Kingori also told the court that members of the VRS told military observers 
they did not want Muslims in the enclave.

"They did not want Muslims supported by fundamentalists in their midst. They 
felt uncomfortable with Muslims there because they felt it belonged to the 
Serbs," he said.

The prosecution alleges that the military and police officers on trial planned 
and undertook the "separation" and the "forced movement of the population" at 
Srebrenica. It also seeks to prove that they ordered the execution and burial 
of able-bodied Bosniak men and boys in the enclave after it fell to Serb forces 
in July 1995.

This week, the witness described to the court the way in which the Serb army 
seized the Dutch observation posts. He said the Dutch had refused to remove the 
observation posts when told to do so by members of the Bosnian Serb army.

Kingori also dismissed defence claims that artillery attacks were launched by 
the Bosnian army on Serb-held territory beyond the Srebrenica enclave. 

He testified that he and his colleagues neither witnessed nor were informed 
about such attacks. 

"We did not notice any heavy weapons firing shells over to the other side," he 
told the tribunal.

The defence teams have also tried to show that Kingori and other UN observers 
did not fulfill their observation tasks inside the protected enclave, and have 
cited reports made by senior commanders from the Bosnian army saying that 
ammunition and weapons were transported into it. 

The reports state that attacks were made on outlying Serb positions in order to 
occupy their forces, thus preventing them from launching attacks on Bosniaks 
elsewhere in central Bosnia.

However, under cross examination, Kingori denied that Bosnian army troops in 
the enclave had armed themselves significantly and therefore violated the 
demilitarisation agreement between the two sides.

"All the heavy weapons were in the custody of Dutchbat," Kingori told the 

The counsel for the defence then informed the witness that a former deputy 
commander of Dutchbat had testified before the tribunal that he had heard that 
Bosniaks inside Srebrenica had between 4,000 and 4,500 items of light weaponry 
and mortars.

"I was not aware that they had these weapons. I was not aware," replied 

"If all these facts are correct, I really don't understand how we didn't know 
about that," he added, explaining that, in order to justify their failings, 
senior army officials may not have reported events exactly as they happened.

Kingori denied that Bosniaks who went to the nearby town of Tuzla to pick up 
supplies to sell in the market also brought back weapons and ammunition. 

"No. Not as far as I am aware. It was food stuffs. But we never went anywhere 
to inspect what they were bringing back," he said. 

Kingori explained that he doubted the Bosniaks brought in weapons because they 
were inspected by Bosnian Serb soldiers as they returned from Tuzla.

Kingori told the tribunal that by June 1995, UN military observers were seeing 
soldiers walking around Srebrenica equipped with only light weapons.

"You cannot compare these weapons with the kind of weaponry that was with the 
[VRS] - artillery shells, rocket launchers and all that," he said. 

"I am not saying there were no military activities but it definitely could not 
have been a [government army] brigade in that particular area." 

Popovic's defense counsel concluded cross examination by questioning the 
independence of Kingori's reports.

The witness replied, "My reports were never biased at all... [They are] just 
based on the truth as I saw it on the ground."

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.



Measures are being taken against family members of war crimes fugitives 
suspected of helping them escape justice. 

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo

Bosnian Serb police seized this week travel documents belonging to the family 
of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, indicted by the Hague tribunal 
for genocide and other war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The operation was ordered by the international administrator in Bosnia, Slovak 
diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, and was carried out on January 10 in the village of 
Pale, near Sarajevo, where Karadzic's family lives.

According to a statement from Lajcak's office, passports belonging to Radovan's 
wife Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic, son Aleksandar, daughter Sonja 
Karadzic-Jovicevic, and son-in-law Branislav Jovicevic were seized.

The order was issued at the request of the Hague tribunal, and in close 
cooperation with relevant local law enforcement agencies.

"These four persons are in one way or another the subject of orders by the 
Bosnian state court, a decision by the Bosnian Council of Ministers, 
international financial and travel sanctions, and ongoing criminal 
investigations for their role in the support network of Radovan Karadzic. 
Today's actions build upon these measures," the statement reads. 

"The international community has made it clear that it expects the authorities 
in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cooperate fully with the Hague tribunal, playing a 
proactive role in apprehending all remaining indictees and dismantling their 
support networks. [The] decision complements measures undertaken by the local 
authorities and by other international actors."

Karadzic has been on the run ever since he was indicted by the Hague tribunal 
in 1995 and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Earlier this week, Bosnia's state prosecutor's office launched an investigation 
of 42 people suspected of aiding indicted war crimes suspects, including 
members of Karadzic's family.

Among the suspects is former deputy chief of the Republika Srpska State 
Security Center, Ljuban Ecim, who, according to the Banja Luka daily Nezavisne 
Novine, was recently arrested in Belgrade on drug smuggling charges. He is 
suspected of being one of the main organisers of the network aiding and 
abetting Karadzic and other fugitives.

Ecim is also on the European Union's and United States' black list, which 
includes all persons suspected of helping and financing Hague indictees.

The daily also claims that the prosecutor's office has opened an investigation 
into family members of the other three Hague indictees still on the run - Ratko 
Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Stojan Zupljanin.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR's Hague programme manager.



But the suspect firmly opposes another delay in his trial. 

By Simon Jennings in The Hague

The war crimes trial of Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj was 
suspended this week after the prosecution moved to disqualify one member of the 
trial chamber hearing his case, Judge Frederik Harhoff. 

Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is on trial at the war crimes 
tribunal in The Hague for crimes against humanity including persecution, 
extermination, murder and torture carried out in Croatia, Bosnia and northern 
Serbia between 1991 and 1993. 

The prosecution filed its motion for Judge Harhoff's disqualification based on 
the fact that he was a member of a human rights group which interviewed a 
certain Isak Gashi in 1993, as part of its own investigation into atrocities in 
the Balkans. Gashi has now been called upon by the prosecution to testify in 
the case. 

According to the counsel for the prosecution, Christine Dahl, due to his 
activities back in 1993, Judge Harhoff had been "involved in the investigation" 
and "the independence of the judiciary [was] at stake".

Dahl also explained that she was not so much concerned about bias as the fact 
that "justice must be done and be seen to be done".

The defendant immediately opposed the motion, claiming that the prosecution was 
trying to delay the trial in order to gain time to make preparations.

"For almost five years I have been waiting for this trial and the prosecution 
is not ready. I have waited for too long and do not want to wait any longer," 
Seselj told the court. 

He further argued that, rather than an actual judicial body, the group Judge 
Harhoff had been working for, the Danish Helsinki Committee, was a 
non-governmental organisation carrying out political surveys. 

Gashi is a former member of the Yugoslav rowing team and was a refugee in 
Denmark when he spoke to the committee. He has already given evidence at the 
tribunal's trials of Dusko Tadic, Slobodan Milosevic and Momcilo Krajisnik. 

He has previously made it known that he does not believe his "Danish statement" 
is an accurate record of what he told the Danish Helsinki Committee.

In response to the prosecution's motion, tribunal president Fausto Pocar 
appointed a three-member panel to consider Judge Harhoff's position. The panel 
will rule whether the judge's previous contact with Gashi is likely to 
compromise his independence and impartiality in the case.

If the prosecution's motion is upheld by the panel, whose ruling cannot be 
appealed, then Pocar will appoint another judge to hear the remainder of the 

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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