‘TEMPORARILY CONFIDENTIAL’ TESTIMONY AT OPERATION STORM TRIAL ENDS
As the hearing today drew to a close, presiding judge Orie disclosed the identity of the three additional prosecution witnesses who had testified in closed sessions. The evidence of Jozo Bilobrk, Antonio Gerovac and Zeljko Mikulic, will soon be made public
After two days of hearings in closed session, presiding judge Orie said publicly that the evidence of the three additional prosecution witnesses was completed at the trial of the Croatian generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac, for crimes against Serbs in Operation Storm and afterwards in 1995.
The Trial Chamber had previously decided that the three witnesses would testify in closed session; the reasons were not disclosed. However, it was indicated that the public would be informed of their testimony later. As today’s hearing drew to a close, the witnesses were identified as Jozo Bilobrk, Antonijo Gerovac and Zeljko Mikulic. The presiding judge indicated that the Chamber would soon issue a short decision to declassify everything that was said in the courtroom yesterday and today. In mid-April, the judges granted the prosecution’s confidential motion to reopen its case.
The trial continues on Thursday, 10 June 2010. The defense of Ivan Cermak will call its additional witness in response to the witnesses called by the prosecution this week. Markac’s lawyers indicated they would not be calling new witnesses.
The Trial Chamber with Judge Orie presiding today issued a decision to finally put an end to the repeated motions by General Gotovina’s defense seeking European monitors’ documents from the EU archives. The defense submitted its first motion in late 2007, asking for about 100 reports the European monitors drafted during Operation Storm. As time went by, all the documents were delivered apart from the logbook of the Knin Regional Center of the European Community Monitoring Mission. The logbook was purportedly drafted in August 1995.
In February 2010, Secretary-General of the EU Council Pierre de Boissieu submitted a detailed report at the request of the Trial Chamber on steps undertaken to locate the requested document. De Boissieu stated that over 200,000 documents in the archives were inspected, but the logbook was not found. Days later, not satisfied with the report, Gotovina’s defense asked the judges to send a new request to the EU Council to force them to undertake a more detailed investigation of the ‘chain of custody’ of the controversial logbook. The defense claims that European monitors Soren Liborius and Stig Marker-Hansen had the document, but the EU representatives never contacted them.
In its decision, the Trial Chamber rejected the defense’s motion, noting that the EU representatives had conducted a thorough investigation of its archives but had not been able to find the logbook of the Knin Regional Center or indeed confirm that it ever existed’. Also, the Trial Chamber went on, European monitors Liborius and Mark-Hansen had said earlier that they had already handed over to the OTP all the documents of the European monitoring mission in their possession. Liborius and Mark-Hansen testified for the prosecution at the trial of Croatian generals.
- Case : Gotovina et al. - "Operation Storm"
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