Tolimir Genocide Trial Begins at ICTY

The trial of General Zdravko Tolimir, accused of crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, will begin today in The Hague with the Prosecution’s opening statement,

Tolimir will represent himself during the trial, despite Chamber warnings that this may be difficult for him.

The Prosecution objected to Tolimir’s decision and asked for a permanent defence lawyer to be appointed, but the Chamber dismissed these objections.

Tolimir’s legal adviser will be allowed in the courtroom but barred from addressing the judges. The Chamber will deliver later a decision on whether he will be permitted to question witnesses.

Tolimir will deliver his opening statement at the beginning of the defense case.

Tolimir, 61, was responsible for intelligence and security for the Army of Republika Srpska, VRS. He was one of seven deputy commanders to General Ratko Mladic, who is still at large 15 years after he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY.

Besides Tolimir, those accused by the ICTY of genocide in Srebrenica include General Radislav Krstic, Radovan Karadzic, General Ratko Mladic, Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Milan Gvero, Radivoje Miletic and Vinko Pandurevic.

Krstic was convicted in 2004 to 35 years’ imprisonment and he is serving his sentence in UK, while the sentences for Popovic and others have yet to be delivered; their trial ended in September last year.

Karadzic’s trial began last fall, but was then postponed. He is scheduled to deliver his opening statements on Monday and Tuesday of next week. He recently asked for another postponement of the trial; the court’s decision on that request is still pending.

If Mladic and Goran Hadzic, the other ICTY indictee who is still on the run, are not arrested, the Tolimir and Karadzic trials could be the last two in the front of the ICTY, whose mandate ends in 2012 for ongoing cases, and in 2014 for appellate cases.

Tolimir was arrested on May 31, 2007 in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The initial indictment against him was confirmed on February 10, 2005.

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