THE HAGUE | 11.11.2011.

HADZIC’S MOTION AGAINST DEFECTS IN FORM OF INDICTMENT REJECTED

The Trial Chamber today dismissed Goran Hadzic’s motion alleging defects in the form of the indictment that charges him with crimes against Croats and other non-Serbs from June 1991 to the end of 1993. The Trial Chamber found that the indictment against Hadzic is detailed enough to give him sufficient notice of the nature and cause of the charges against him and to enable him to prepare an adequate defense

The Trial Chamber dismissed the motion filed by the defense of Goran Hadzic, former prime minister of the Serbian Autonomous Region Eastern Slavonia and the president of self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina. The motion alleges defects in the form of the indictment that charges Hadzic with crimes against humanity in Croatia from June 1991 to the end of 1993.

Hadzic’s defense counsel Zoran Zivanovic filed the motion on 7 October 2011, alleging that some parts of the indictment, particularly those on the command responsibility of the accused, were ‘ambiguous and vague’. Zivanovic urged the Trial Chamber to order the prosecution to either change or delete those parts from the indictment. The prosecution responded that the indictment was ‘detailed" enough and provided Hadzic enough material "to prepare a defense’.

In its decision, the Trial Chamber noted that the indictment precisely sets out "who the members of the joint criminal enterprise are alleged to have been’ and what Hadzic’s contribution to the implementation of its goals were. The Trial Chamber ruled that it is "sufficient to identify the direct perpetrators of crimes by category or group" and to identify the accused as their superior commander. The indictment against Hadzic identifies the perpetrators as the ‘Serb forces’, a term thatcomprises the JNA, the Serb Territorial Defense of the SAO Krajina and SAO Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and the Serbian MUP, Serbian State Security Service and paramilitary units from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia.

Hadzic also contends that in the indictment the prosecution didn’t identify the victims of the crimes sufficiently. The Trial Chamber found that the wording ‘Croat and other non-Serb population and persons not taking active part in the hostilities’ was an adequate description of the victims.

The judges finally found that some of Hadzic’s arguments did not in fact allege any defects in the form of the indictment but he actually "raised points in his motion that would tend to undermine the accuracy of the charges" against him. In the Trial Chamber’s view, Hadzic thus ‘prematurely’ litigated the issues that should properly go to trial.

Denying the defense motion, the Trial Chamber concluded that the indictment provides Hadzic with "enough detail to inform him clearly of the nature and cause of the charges against him and enables him to prepare a defense".