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Kovacevic case: the trial opens on Monday 6 July 1998. First trial on Genocide charges.

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



The Hague, 2 July 1998



First trial on Genocide charges

The trial of accused Milan Kovacevic will open on Monday 6 July 1998. The hearing will begin at 9.30 AM before Trial Chamber II, consisting of Judge May, presiding, Judge Cassese and Judge Mumba.

Background on the Accused

According to the indictment, Milan Kovacevic (born in Bozici, Prijedor municipality, on 10 February 1941) was the Vice-president of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) ’s Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Prijedor. "Between 29 April and 31 December 1992, the Crisis Staff had authority and control over: the attacks on the non-Serbs villages and areas; the seizure and detention
of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations; the establishment and operation of the detention camps; and, the deportation or forced transfer of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population out of the Municipality
[of Prijedor]".

"As the Vice-president of the Crisis Staff, Milan Kovacevic played a key role in the crimes that occurred in the Municipality of Prijedor. […]".

Background on the indictment

The initial indictment, issued on 13 March 1997, charged the accused with a single count of complicity in genocide. It was amended on 23 June 1998 in order to bring additional charges. Milan Kovacevic is currently charged with Genocide (1 count), Complicity to commit genocide (1 count), Crimes against Humanity (4 counts), Violations of the laws or customs of war (4 counts), and
Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (5 counts) for his alleged criminal conduct.

Since the indictment was amended after the initial appearance of the accused on the first indictment on 30 July 1997 and since additional charges have been brought, Milan Kovacevic will have to enter a plea on the new charges before the actual beginning of the trial.

Pending Motions

On 30 June 1998, the Defendant filed a Motion to strike various counts relating to Article 2, Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and Article 3, Violations of the laws or customs of war, of the Statute.

Schedule for Monday

On Monday 6 July, the hearing will begin with the further appearance of the accused in order to plead to the new charges contained in the amended indictment.

Then, the Trial Chamber will hear oral arguments on the various pending Motions and Requests, and any other outstanding matters.

The trial will commence afterwards.

Background on the Parties

The Prosecution Bench will consist of Ms. Brenda Hollis, Senior Trial Attorney, and Mr. Michael Keegan, Trial Attorney.

The Accused will be assisted by Mr. Dusan Vucicevic and Mr. Anthony D’Amato, both from the Chicago Bar.

Background on the Chamber

Trial Chamber II consists of Judge Richard MAY (United Kingdom), presiding, Judge Antonio CASSESE (Italy) and Judge Florence Ndepele Mwachande MUMBA (Zambia).