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The Trial of Kordic and Cerkez will begin Monday 12 April 1999.

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 9 April 1999

The Trial of Kordic and Cerkez will begin Monday 12 April 1999.

The trial of Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez will begin on Monday 12 April 1999 at 9.45 am in Courtroom III.

The joint trial will be held before Trial Chamber III, composed of Judge Richard May, presiding, Judge Mohamed Bennouna and Judge Patrick Robinson.


Dario Kordic was born on 14 December 1960 in Sarajevo, in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the indictment, Dario Kordic was an active member of the HDZ-BiH and rose to positions of increasing power, authority and influence in the Bosnian Croat leadership. He was part of the highest circle of political and military leaders in the HDZ-BiH (President), the "Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosna" (HZ H-B) and the "Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosna" (HR H-B) (Vice-president in both) and HVO.

Mario Cerkez was born on 27 March 1959 in the municipality of Vitez, in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the indictment, he became commander of an HVO Brigade in or about the municipality of Vitez in 1992. He remained in that position at all times relevant to the indictment.


Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez were initially indicted on 10 November 1995. This indictment was amended on 30 September 1998 to describe at greater length the "campaign of persecution, violence and ethnic cleansing implemented and carried out on a widespread or systematic basis, by various means and methods". Both Kordic and Cerkez are charged as individuals and as superiors with:
four counts of crimes against humanity, namely persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds; murder; inhumane acts; and imprisonment; eight counts of grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, namely wilful killing; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health; inhuman treatment; unlawful confinement of civilians; taking civilians as hostages; and extensive destruction of property; and 10 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war, namely unlawful attack on civilians and civilian objects; murder; violence to life and person; cruel treatment; taking hostages; wanton destruction not justified by military necessity; plunder of public or private property; and destruction or wilful damage to institutions dedicated to religion or education (Cerkez only).
The allegations against Kordic relate to crimes allegedly committed from about November 1991 to approximately March 1994. The allegations against Cerkez relate to crimes allegedly committed from about April 1992 to approximately September 1993

Two of the six defendants on the original indictment are currently standing trial separately: Tihomir Blaskic and Zlatko Aleksovski. The Tribunal released two others, namely Ivan Santic and Pero Skopljak, on 19 December 1997, following the withdrawal of the indictment against them by the Prosecutor (see press release 279).

Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez were among the 10 accused who surrendered voluntarily on 6 October 1997 (see press release 246).


The Prosecution:

Mr Geoffrey Nice, Mr Kenneth Scott, Ms Susan Somers and Mr Patrick Lopez-Terres.

Counsel for the accused:

For Dario Kordic: Mr Mitko Naumovski, Mr David F. Geneson, Mr Turner T. Smith jr, Ms Ksenija Turkovic, Mr Stephen M. Sayers, Mr Robert A. Stein and Mr Leo Andreis.

For Mario Cerkez: Mr Bozidar Kovacic and Mr Goran Mikulicic.


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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