The war crimes trial of a former Bosnian army commander who allegedly failed to punish Muslim fighters who murdered dozens of Serbs and Croats was set to start yesterday, although prosecutors were still hoping judges would transfer the case to Sarajevo at the last minute.
Retired General Rasim Delic, one of only a handful of Muslims indicted by the UN's Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, is charged with murder, rape and cruel treatment.
Prosecutors say he failed to rein in foreign Islamic fighters known as mujahidin who gunned down prisoners and beheaded others during the Bosnian war.
Delic surrendered to the court after he was indicted in 2005 and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In order to speed up the trial, judges have curtailed the number of witnesses prosecutors can call to 55 from the 91 originally requested.
Arguing the case should be turned over to a court in Bosnia, prosecutor Daryl Mundis told judges on Friday that the restrictions mean they can now "present only a truncated picture of the accused's criminality."
As of yesterday morning, the tribunal had not ruled on the motion seeking the case's transfer.
Delic's attorney, Vasvija Vidovic, pushed for a trial in The Hague, saying that Delic would have to wait at least 10 months before a trial could begin in Sarajevo.
"That is certainly not in the interests of justice," she said.
The tribunal is under increasing pressure from the UN, which foots the multimillion-dollar court bill, to finish its work quickly. The court is due to finish its trials by next year and round off all appeals and shut down in 2010.
Delic is one of the highest-ranking Bosnian Muslims to appear at the tribunal, which has indicted more than 160 suspects -- the vast majority of them Serbs.
Prosecutors indicted him on the basis of command responsibility -- arguing he knew about the mujahidin's crimes but failed to punish them.
According to his indictment, in July 1993 they summarily executed about 24 captured Bosnian Croat soldiers and civilians near the village of Maline.
Two years later mujahidin soldiers captured a group of Bosnian Serb troops and imprisoned them at a detention facility called Kamenica Camp. There they decapitated one of the Bosnian Serbs and forced the remaining prisoners to kiss the severed head, the indictment said. The head was later hung on a hook in the room where the prisoners were kept.
The mujahidin are also accused of raping three Bosnian Serb women and murdering other Serb prisoners in September 1995.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s