At the pre-trial conference, the Trial Chamber issued guidelines to the prosecution and the defense on how the trial of Goran Hadzic, former president of the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina, should proceed. It remains to be seen if Hadzic will address the Trial Chamber without making a solemn declaration after the prosecution completes its opening statement tomorrow. The identity of the first witnesses has not been disclosed, but there are ‘indications’ they are victims of the crimes Hadzic is charged with

Goran Hadzic in the courtroomGoran Hadzic in the courtroom

The trial of Goran Hadzic, former president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina, will begin tomorrow in the morning with the opening statement of the prosecution. The prosecution asked and was given between two and half and three hours to present the opening statement. The prosecution will immediately proceed to call the first witness. In the opening statement, the prosecution will show slides, documents, video clips and maps, as was announced today at the pre-trial conference.

Today there was no mention of Goran Hadzic’s right to address the Trial Chamber without making a solemn declaration. Hadzic is not likely to exercise this right since the prosecution was ordered to call its first witnesses immediately after the opening statement.

Although the information about the witnesses on the prosecution list is not yet public, it was confirmed that 85 witnesses will testify in court. Some will give their entire evidence live, and for some, the prosecution will tender their written statements and then examine them briefly. The prosecution will take 170 hours to examine the witnesses in chief. The identity of the first prosecution witness is still confidential, but he is known to be from Dalj, a village in Eastern Slavonia. Hadzic is charged with crimes perpetrated in Dalj. The Trial Chamber announced today it would not ask the prosecution to reduce the indictment, the number of witnesses or the hours needed to examine them.

The trial of Goran Hadzic will proceed before the Trial Chamber presided by Belgian judge Guy Delvoie. Other members of the Trial Chamber are judges Burton Hall of Bahamas and Antoine Mindua of Kongo. The prosecution team is headed by US lawyer Douglas Stringer. Belgrade lawyer Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell from Canada will defend the accused.

Hadzic was arrested and transferred to the Tribunal in July 2011 after seven years on the run. The indictment charges Hadzic in 14 counts with participation in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at 'a permanent removal of a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from a large part of the Republic of Croatia’ in order to make it ‘part of a new Serb-dominated state’. Hadzic is charged with persecution, extermination, murder, detention, torture and cruel treatment of Croats and other non-Serbs in prison facilities at the Ovcara farm, in Velepromet in Vukovar, in Erdut, Dalj and Borovo Selo as well as in Serbia - at farms in the villages of Stajicevo and Begejci, in the JNA barracks in Zrenjanin and military prisons in Sid and Sremska Mitrovica. Hadzic is also charged with the deportation and forcible transfer of the population, wanton destruction of towns and villages and looting of the property belonging to the non-Serb civilians in Dalj, Vukovar, Erdut, Lovas and other places in Eastern Slavonia.