UN court delays war crime trials of Serb officials

Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal said it would delay the trial of 2 former Serbian intelligence chiefs until the end of November.

UN court delays war crime trials of Serb officials

The Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal said on Thursday it would delay the trial of two former Serbian intelligence chiefs until the end of November to give the new defence team for one of the war crime suspects time to prepare.

Lawyers for Franko Simatovic, a commander of elite Serb forces, asked in September if the trial could be postponed to give the new counsel time to get to grips with his case following the death of the former lead counsel.

Simatovic is on trial at the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia alongside Jovica Stanisic, former head of the Serbian secret service.

Lawyers for Simatovic had requested a delay of up to eight months in total but the court said it had not seen valid reasons for such a long delay and would recommence hearings on Nov. 30.

The court added that a winter recess beginning in December would also give the new defence team more time to prepare.

The court granted Simatovic provisional release into the custody of officials of the Serbian government until Nov. 25. Stanisic has also submitted a request for provisional release, court documents showed on Thursday.

Stanisic and Simatovic are accused of arming and training militias who committed atrocities against Bosnian Muslims ansd Croats between 1991 and 1995.

Both pleaded not guilty in 2003, when they were taken into custody by the tribunal.

The trial resumed in June this year after facing long delays and a suspension last year because of Stanisic's problems with osteoporosis, kidney stones and depression.

Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2009, 08:26
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