Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 7 October 1998
THE INDICTMENT OF DARIO KORDIC AND MARIO CERKEZ
HAS BEEN AMENDED
Further appearance of the accused on Wednesday 14 October 1998 at 10 a.m.
On Wednesday 30 September 1998, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald confirmed an amended indictment of Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez as submitted by the Prosecutor.
Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez were initially indicted on 10 November 1995, along with four other co-defendants, for their alleged involvement in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian Muslim population of the Lasva Valley (central Bosnia) carried out by the civilian and military authorities of the then "Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna" between May 1992 and May
Two of the six defendants are currently standing trial separately: Tihomir Blaskic and Zlatko Aleksovski. The Tribunal (see Press Release 279) released two others, namely Ivan Santic and Pero Skopljak, on 19 December 1997, following the withdrawal of the indictment against them by the Prosecutor.
Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez were among the 10 accused who surrendered voluntarily on 6 October 1997 (see press release 246).
Following this amended indictment, the accused have to enter a plea on each of the counts brought against them. Their further appearance (the initial appearance hearing took place on 8 October 1997 and both accused pleaded not guilty) will take place on Wednesday 14 October 1998 at 10 a.m.
The amended indictment:
extends the period of time covered by the initial indictment: the time relevant to the charges now runs from November 1991 to August 1993 with respect of Mario Cerkez and to approximately March 1994 with respect of Dario Kordic.
specifies the positions held by the accused: the amended indictment now describes in greater details the role, power and authority of both accused, be it the political and/or military role, power, authority or influence.
describes 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" against the Bosnian Muslim inhabitants of the Lasva Valley. This campaign allegedly included, among other charges:
- attacks on cities, towns and villages with no military significance ("at least 100 defenseless Bosnian Muslim civilians, including women, children the elderly and the infirm, were killed and many wounded or harmed in their homes or yards…");
- detention and imprisonment on political, racial, ethnic or religious grounds of Bosnian Muslim civilians who were "subjected to physical and psychological abuse, including beatings and sexual assaults (…)";
- forcible transfer civilians from their homes or villages;
- encouraging, instigating and fomenting hatred, distrust and division on political, racial, ethnic or religious grounds by propaganda, speeches and otherwise;
- wanton and extensive destruction and plundering of Bosnian Muslim civilian property.
aggravates the charges against the accused:
- Dario Kordic is now charged with 22 counts (initially 13): four counts of Crimes against humanity (initially three); eight counts of Grave Breach of the Geneva Conventions (initially five); and 10 counts of Violations of the laws and customs of war (initially five), on the basis of alleged persecution, unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects, wilful killing,
murder, causing serious injury, inhumane acts and inhumane treatment; imprisonment, taking of hostages and the use of human shields; destruction and plunder of property.
- Mario Cerkez is now charged with 22 counts (initially 10): four counts of Crimes against humanity (new charges), eight counts of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions (initially five) and 10 counts of Violations of the laws and customs of war (initially five) on the basis of alleged persecutions; unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects; wilful killing,
murder, causing serious injury, inhumane acts and inhumane treatment; imprisonment, taking of hostages and use of human shields; destruction and plunder of property.
The full text of the amended indictment is available upon request at the Public Information Unit.