At the hearing about the missing HV artillery documents, the OTP noted it was now seeking 63 documents. The Croatian delegation argued that a significant part of the artillery reports from Operation Storm never actually existed

Predstavnici Hrvatske na raspravi o nedostajućim dokumentima Hrvatske vojskePredstavnici Hrvatske na raspravi o nedostajućim dokumentima Hrvatske vojske

A hearing on the missing Croatian Army documents was held today before the Trial Chamber with Dutch judge Orie presiding. Judge Orie is the presiding judge in the case of Croatian generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac on trial for crimes during and after Operation Storm. Pursuant to an order the Trial Chamber issued in September 2008, Croatia was obliged to deliver the missing documents to the OTP. Apart from the parties, today’s hearing was attended by the representatives of the Republic of Croatia. Croatian delegation was headed by Gordan Markotic, head of the Office for Cooperation with International Courts in the Ministry of Justice.

Since some of the documents had been delivered in the meantime and some documents never existed, at the beginning the OTP notified the court that it was now seeking 63 documents; initially, they had 370 documents on its list. The parties then discussed whether each particular controversial document existed or not.

An agreement was reached today that a small number of documents had never been drafted but most of the requested material remains controversial. This is mainly about the reports that the artillery and artillery-rocket groups sent, or were expected to send, to the operational groups in the Split Military District, headed at the time by General Gotovina. Prosecutor Tieger is still convinced that those reports were indeed drafted and sent during Operation Storm in early August 1995. The Croatian representatives contend that their enquiry led them to conclude that the reports didn’t exist.

The hearing today grew so tedious with endless reference numbers of controversial documents. This prompted the presiding judge to say that the hearing was ‘an accountancy hearing’. He suggested that all technical details related to the search for ‘the artillery documents’ should be discussed outside of the courtroom from now on, at special meetings between the parties. The Croatian authorities and the representatives of the Trial Chamber should also attend those meetings. Everybody agreed and the head of Croatian delegation added that the first meeting should take place as soon as possible because, as he noted, at this time the contentious issue of the undelivered documents is ‘causing a lot of damage to the Republic of Croatia’.

The trial of the three generals continues on Friday, the last day before the Tribunal’s winter recess. General Mladen Markac will call his next witness.