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UN war crimes tribunal to conduct first hearing in former Yugoslavia

UN war crimes tribunal to conduct first hearing in former Yugoslavia

Rasim Delic
The United Nations tribunal set up to try those responsible for the worst war crimes committed in the Balkans in the 1990s will this Friday travel to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina to hold its first-ever hearing away from its seat in The Netherlands.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague, has scheduled an evidentiary hearing after a request from prosecutors – and with the consent of the defence – in the trial of Rasim Delić, the former head of Bosnian Muslim forces during the Balkan wars.

The hearing, which is expected to last three days and is to be held in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will involve testimony from Ali Ahmed Ali Hamad, a witness in the case. The prosecution requested the hearing be held in Sarajevo “due to the specific circumstances of that witness,” the Tribunal said in a press statement released today.

Mr. Delić, 58, is charged with murder, cruel treatment and rape on the basis of his responsibility as Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina from June 1993.

The indictment against him states that he failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent his subordinates committing torture, beatings, rapes and murders – including a decapitation – at Kamenica camp, a detention centre for captured Bosnian Serb soldiers and local civilians in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the most notorious murder, carried out on 24 July 1995, a Bosnian Serb army prisoner was decapitated at Kamenica and all the other prisoners were forced to kiss the severed head, which was later placed on a hook on the wall of the room where the prisoners were being held.

Mr. Delić also stands accused of failing to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish those soldiers who executed captured Bosnian Croat civilians and soldiers in two villages in Travnik municipality in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.