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ICTY: Zupljanin Seeks Provisional Release

20. March 2009.00:00
At a status conference held before the Hague Tribunal Chamber Stojan Zupljanin says he wants to prepare his defence while at liberty.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Stojan Zupljanin, who is charged before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, together with Mico Stanisic, with crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war, has asked the Court to allow him to “prepare” his defence “while at liberty”.

Since Zupljanin presented this request orally at a status conference, the Chamber advised him to file a motion following “appropriate procedures and channels”.

After having been on the run for nine years, Zupljanin was arrested in Serbia in June 2008. Stanisic surrendered in March 2005.

Although the Trial Chamber stated that all preparations should be undertaken in order to begin the trial of Zupljanin and Stanisic before the summer break, Zupljanin argued that the trial “is not even close to getting started”.

“My defence is being developed from scratch. I need a lot more time to prepare it properly. The Defence does not function and we are facing tons of evidence and quasi-evidence material. A huge amount of work day and night is ahead of us. I must prove my innocence as I am really innocent,” Zupljanin said.

The Hague Prosecution charges the two indictees with participation in a joint criminal enterprise, as well as persecution, extermination, murder, torture and inhumane acts. Stanisic was Minister of the Interior of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Zupljanin was Chief of the Regional Safety Services Center in Banja Luka and internal affairs advisor to the RS President.

In July 2008 Stanisic received permission to defend himself while at liberty. He therefore did not attend the status conference.

“Stanisic has been preparing his defence for five years already. He has been doing it while at liberty. I would therefore like to ask the Chamber to consider the possibility of temporarily releasing me. This would, at least partially, put me in the same situation as him. I sincerely believe that this trial is not likely to begin this year. If my defence continues to develop at this pace, I doubt that the trial will begin next year either,” Zupljanin said.

This post is also available in: Bosnian