The prosecution called the judges to reject the defense’s request for the acquittal of Goran Hadzic at the half-time of the trial. According to the prosecution, there is plenty of direct evidence confirming Hadzic’s criminal intent, his significant contribution to the joint criminal enterprise and his direct involvement in some incidents

Douglas Stringer, prosecutor at the Goran Hadzic trialDouglas Stringer, prosecutor at the Goran Hadzic trial

Prosecutor Douglas Stringer urged the judges to reject the motion of Goran Hadzic’s defense to acquit the former prime minister of the Serb Autonomous Region of Eastern Slavonia on all counts at the half-time of the trial. According to the Tribunal’s Rules, the defense may ask the judges to drop some or all counts in the indictment for which, in its opinion, the prosecution has failed to call sufficient evidence that would lead to a conviction.

Prosecutor Stringer noted that a lot of direct evidence has been called about Hadzic’s criminal intent, his significant contribution to the joint criminal enterprise and direct involvement in individual incidents. The prosecutor highlighted Hadzic’s role in the crimes committed on 19 November 1991 in the Velepromet warehouse in Vukovar and at the Ovcara farm the following day, in Lovas and in the Opatovac region. The defense had blamed the JNA troops for those crimes. According to the prosecutor, the civilian and military authorities worked in concert at all times, and their joint objective was the permanent elimination of the non-Serbs from large parts of Croatia.

Speaking about the execution of about 260 injured and sick people from the Vukovar Hospital at Ovcara, the prosecutor highlighted Goran Hadzic’s ‘decisive role’. The prosecutor argued that Hadzic ‘put the pressure on the JNA to surrender the prisoners to him and his people’. One of them was the Territorial Defense commander, Miroljub Vujovic, who ‘was in charge of the murder operation’. The prosecutor also recalled the meeting of the SAO Eastern Slavonia government held in the early afternoon in the Velepromet warehouse. Hadzic arrived at the meeting with Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, his ‘rabid dog’ who ‘wouldn’t hesitate to intimidate and threaten’, as the prosecutor put it. The prosecution alleges that a decision was made at the meeting to hand over to the local authorities the prisoners who had been taken from the Vukovar Hospital that morning and were detained in the JNA military barracks.

In Sid on 20 November 1991, Hadzic made a speech in which he ‘demonized Croats’, asking ‘whether they can be called human at all’. According to the prosecution, this too was indicative of Hadzic’s attitude towards the non-Serbs. Hadzic’s speech clearly showed that earlier that day he had ‘reached an agreement with the military authorities to keep the prisoners in Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, while those who had been taken earlier to the prison in Sremska Mitrovica were to be brought back to Vukovar’, the prosecutor claimed. Hadzic ‘lied’ when he said that the prisoners should remain there in order to be tried. Hadzic’s views, his statements and his close ties with Arkan showed that the prisoners were to remain in Eastern Slavonia to be killed.

After prosecutor Stringer highlighted the evidence that shows Hadzic was responsible for the murder and torture in the Velepromet warehouse, his colleague Sarah Clanton spoke about the crimes committed in Lovas and in the Opatovac area.

The decision on the defense’s motion to acquit Hadzic will be handed down later. If the motion is rejected, the defense will have four months to prepare its case.