Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal Confirms Secret
MIKE CORDER, Associated Press
AP NEWS ARCHIVE Apr. 23, 1996 12:49 PM ET
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal confirmed Tuesday that it has issued secret indictments in an effort to prosecute those suspected of committing atrocities during the Bosnian war.
Tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier declined to reveal the identities of those named in what he said were about a half-dozen indictments. He also would not say when the indictments were issued.
“They have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities for implementation, but so far we have not heard anything back,” Chartier said.
Chartier said “many possible reasons” existed for keeping the indictments secret, including witness security and the location of suspects.
The secret indictments came to light in a defense motion filed by lawyers for Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic, whose trial _ the U.N. court’s first _ is scheduled to start May 7. The motion requested that witnesses be allowed to give evidence during the trial via video link from Bosnia.
The U.N. court’s rules allow for a judge to order non-disclosure of an indictment “if satisfied that the making of such an order is required to … protect confidential information obtained by the prosecutor, or is otherwise in the interests of justice.”
But the indictments must be revealed once suspects are arrested.
The tribunal has publicly indicted 57 suspects and has four in custody in The Hague awaiting trial. Even the indictments of the highest-profile war crimes suspects, including Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, have been openly announced.
Lawyers for Tadic predict some witnesses will not come to The Hague to testify because they fear their names may be on the secret wanted list. Tadic is accused of murder, torture and rape in the Serb-run Omarska prison camp in Bosnia in 1992.
But tribunal prosecutor Grant Niemann said that “it would be inappropriate and unseemly for the tribunal to allow potential suspects or accused to use the tribunal’s rules to avoid criminal liability.”
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