According to the prosecution, Croatia’s motion should be rejected for three reasons: under the Tribunal’s rules, Croatia does not meet the requirements that would allow it to take part in the proceedings as amicus curiae, the information it intends to present will not assist the Appeals Chamber in its deliberations and the late Franjo Tudjman, Gojko Susak and Janko Bobetko ‘will not benefit’ in any way from the right to a fair trial in the context of the Prlic et al. case

Franjo Tudjman, Gojko Šušak, Janko BobetkoFranjo Tudjman, Gojko Šušak, Janko Bobetko

The prosecution responded today to Croatia’s motion seeking leave to get involved in the appellate proceedings in the case against former Herceg Bosna leaders. The prosecution recalls that similar requests made by the Zagreb authorities have been rejected before, both in the case against the Bosnian Croat leaders and in other cases before the Tribunal. Furthermore, Croatia has ‘misinterpreted’ the findings of the Trial Chamber related to the three Croatian officials.

As the prosecution notes, the Trial Chamber was duty bound to first determine how many persons were implicated in the putative joint criminal enterprise, in order to establish whether the enterprise did in fact exist. In the process, the chamber decided that the three Croatian officials, who had not been indicted, were part of a broader set of people who ‘consulted each other in designing and implementing the joint criminal enterprise’.

Since Tudjman, Susak and Bobetko were not indicted by the Tribunal, they will not benefit from the right to a fair trial, which is based on the presumption of innocence, the prosecution argues, evidently meaning to say that the three men had not been indicted as part of the Prlic et al. case, because Janko Bobetko was in fact indicted for crimes against Serb civilians in September 1993 in the Medak pocket. At the time, he was the commander in the south theatre of operations in Croatia.

In its motion, the prosecution notes that the Appeals Chamber had already ruled on a similar motion filed by Croatia in the Gotovina et al. case. The appellate judges concluded that the Tribunal’s findings related to criminal responsibility pertain only to the accused, and that a person who has been found to be involved in group activities together with the accused has no right to intervene in the case. The prosecution therefore contends that Croatia has not met the requirements necessary for it to be allowed to appear as amicus curiae in the appellate proceedings.