LJUBISA BEARA’S PLEA POSTPONED BY TWO MORE DAYS
Because of the absence of his defense counsel, Chicago attorney John Ostojic, Ljubisa Beara will enter his plea to the charges against him on Thursday, 11 November instead of today. The former Security Service Chief of the VRS Main Staff is charged with genocide in Srebrenica.
Ljubisa Beara, former Security Service Chief of the VRS main Staff, did not enter his plea today at his second appearance before a Tribunal judge to the counts in the indictment charging him with genocide and other war crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995. His plea was postponed again, this time only for two days, until Thursday, 11 November. That is when Beara’s defense counsel, Chicago attorney John Ostojic, is expected to arrive in The Hague. At today’s hearing, the accused was represented temporarily by Gregor Guy Smith.
At his initial appearance before the Tribunal on 12 October 2004, Beara availed himself of the opportunity to postpone his plea by 30 days. The retired VRS colonel is charged, in a total of six counts, with participation in a joint criminal enterprise, whose alleged aim was to prevent the survival of the Muslim ethnic community in the Srebrenica area by destroying all the men of military age. The prosecution alleges--and witnesses at the Tribunal’s other Srebrenica trials have testified—that Beara was the chief mastermind of the operation in which more than 7,000 Bosniak men were captured and executed between 12 and 20 July 1995. The former commander of the Drina Corps, General Radislav Krstic; Karadzic’s civilian commissioner for Srebrenica Miroslav Deronjic; former Bratunac Brigade security officer Momir Nikolic; the then-Chief of Staff of the Zvornik Brigade, Dragan Ostojic; and others testified about his leading role in the operation.
The prosecution indicated today that in two weeks it intends to submit for review an amended indictment against Beara, which means the accused will have the opportunity to enter his plea yet again.
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