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Decision to Withdraw seven Accused's assignment of Counsel reversed by Trial Chambers.

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 6 September 1999

Decision to Withdraw seven Accused's assignment of Counsel reversed by Trial Chambers

On 3 September 1999, Trial Chambers II and III hearing the ‘Kupreskic and Others’ and ‘Kordic and Cerkez’ trials respectively, reversed the Registrar’s decisions of 6 August 1999 to withdraw the counsel on the basis of the accused’s alleged lack of indigency (see Press Release 428).

These decisions follow requests sent by the seven, Vladimir Santic, Mario Cerkez, Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Vlatko Kupreskic and Dragan Papic, to the President of the Tribunal, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, asking her to review the Registrar’s decision (see Press Release 431). On 30 August 1999, President McDonald referred the matter to the appropriate Trial Chambers.

In reaching their decisions, the Trial Chambers stated that in the circumstances the burden of proof in determining whether or not the accused were indigent lay with the Registrar. Having considered the evidence before the Registrar, the Trial Chambers found that the evidence was not sufficient. “Media reports may serve as a first step to launch an investigation into the veracity of the reported facts. That newspapers and other kinds of media are very often a highly unreliable source of information is common knowledge. Their reports, unsubstantiated by other material, cannot by themselves be sufficient evidence for a court of law”.

The Trial Chambers ordered that the assignment of Defence counsel “continue without interruption with regard to all accused”.