Monday, June 9, 2008

#464 Sensational Interview with Marko Attila Hoare, former investigator at The ICTY OTP

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina

ONLINE NEWSLETTER No. 464 - International issue

1. The letter that the ICTY prosecutor Sir Geoffrey Nice sent to the Croatian newspaper “Jutarnji List” (Morning News)

2. Statement by Kasim Trnka, a constitutional judge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for Radio Free Europe

3. Sensational Interview with Marko Attila Hoare, former investigator at The ICTY OTP


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1. The letter that the ICTY prosecutor Sir Geoffrey Nice sent to the Croatian newspaper “Jutarnji List” (Morning News).

The following is a translation from Croatian language.

In your newspaper issue of April 12 2007, in the article “Sanader: Croatia is also interested in why the documents did not reach the ICJ” is written:

“The New York Times published on Monday that in the trial before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Serbia withheld some crucial evidence concerning its role in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, by making parts of the transcripts from meetings of the supreme defense council unavailable to that highest UN court, with the permission of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY)”.

From 2002 to 2006 I was in charge of the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic, and the documents mentioned here were used as proof against Slobodan Milosevic. I wish to use this opportunity to emphasize that neither my team nor I were part of that “permission”, as the citation above seems to imply.

The decision to allow the protective measures (closing the materials from the public) for a large number of pages from the documents of the supreme defense council (VSO) of SR Yugoslavia came directly from Carla Del Ponte. In a letter to Goran Svilanovic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yugoslavia at the time, in May 2003, she gave consent for protective measures of a “reasonable” part from the collection of VSO documents, even though no one from prosecution had previously viewed those documents. I opposed her intention, and warned her in a letter not to make any concessions to Serbia. Namely, that same month I had initiated a legal procedure, through which the Prosecution requested those documents from Belgrade in the manner specified by the Statute and the Regulations of the ICTY. My intention was to obtain the documents and use them in the open sessions of the court. For that reason it is not an accident that right at that time Belgrade, through Ms. Del Ponte, tried to make a “deal” and with it tried to strengthen its position in the legal procedure before it. It succeeded. Ms. Del Ponte completely ignored my letter.

The deal that Carla Del Ponte struck with Belgrade did not have any legal basis. That was an unnecessary “deal” that Belgrade used only to hide proof of Yugoslavia’s involvement in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from the ICJ, and also from its own public. On the other hand, the new government in Belgrade did not have anything against those materials being used as proof against Slobodan Milosevic in a closed session. The motive of Ms. Del Ponte to consent to such a deal is not clear to me even to this day. Namely, the Prosecution not only had no benefit from that “deal”, but on the contrary, it created an unfavorable precedent, because subsequently Belgrade placed the same conditions on similar documents – and successfully, because Ms. Del Ponte again would personally approve such initiatives from Belgrade. On the other hand, my team and I have spent much time and effort convincing the judges to remove the protections from those documents, in the name of transparency of the court, and particularly with regard to such cases where the trial can potentially uncover offenses of state institutions that were being hidden and still are hidden, not only from various courts and victims, but from the state’s own citizens. Only in extraordinary circumstances should trials be closed to the public.

Sir Geoffrey Nice.

Editor’s COMMENT: The Bosnian public interest has been piqued by this letter because in it Sir Geoffrey Nice clarifies how crucial evidence about SR Yugoslavia’s involvement in the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia was closed from the public by the ICTY. Even previous to this letter, it was well known in Bosnia that if new evidence becomes available, then a motion of appeal can be made to the decision by the court in the case of BiH vs. Serbia and Montenegro. Now we know where such evidence exists, and how to get at it.


2. Statement by Kasim Trnka, a constitutional judge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for Radio Free Europe

The consent of Radmanovic (Serbian member of Bosnian Presidency) for such a motion will not be necessary, because it is in a procedure for which the B&H agent Sakib Softic already has a mandate. Because this is a motion within an already existing court process, and the current agent already has the mandate to execute the suit from start to finish, then one can conclude that the agent by himself can make the motion and ask for a renewal of the process. And in that case he would be working within his mandate.


3. Sensational Interview with Marko Attila Hoare, former investigator at The ICTY OTP

Carla Del Ponte stopped The Indictment against top Serbian military and political officials

By Domagoj Margetic,

“Hrvatski list” (Croatian News); Mon, 16 Apr 2007 10:18:37 +0100

In one of your articles you mentioned that you took part in investigation of Office of the Prosecutor against the military top of Yugoslavian army in Belgrade, to be more accurate against the Yugoslavian generals Veljko Kadijevic and Blagoje Adzic, and against political leadership: Kostic, Jovic, Bulatovic. Can you describe what happened with that investigation and why was it stopped?

I was working with an investigating team that was responsible for the investigation of war-crimes by the Serbian/Yugoslav leadership in Bosnia. We were investigating which top officials could be indicted as members of the 'joint criminal enterprise'. We drew up an indictment for Milosevic, Kadijevic, Adzic, Jovic, Kostic, Stanisic, Simatovic, Seselj and others, who I think may have included Zivota Panic and Momir Bulatovic. However, Carla del Ponte rejected the draft indictment and ordered us to prepare a separate indictment for Milosevic alone. A the time (2001), I thought this was just a tactical arrangement; I did not realize that she had permanently shelved plans to indict Kadijevic, Adzic, Jovic, Kostic and the others. At the time, the rumor was that del Ponte wanted a personal contest between herself and Milosevic, and did not want other indictees to obscure the picture.

Why did Carla del Ponte stop investigation and processes against Adzic, Kadijevic, Kostic, Bulatovic and Jovic?

I can only speculate. Until recently, I believed that she was afraid of pushing Serbia too hard, and did not want to indict more top Serbian figures, for fear of jeopardizing her relationship with Serbia. In other words, the determined resistance to the ICTY of the criminal and state elite in Serbia, under Kostunica's leadership, deterred her from pursuing this process. I still think this was an element in her calculations. But since the affair has surfaced of Kadijevic and his stay in the US, and his collaboration with the US over Iraq, I strongly suspect that the US may have quietly informed del Ponte that she was not allowed to indict Kadijevic. And of course, if you do not indict Kadijevic, it is difficult to indict Adzic, Kostic and Jovic. Of course, this remains only a suspicion.

In your opinion, did Carla del Ponte give certain cession to Belgrade and made the decision that certain war crimes and war criminals won't be processed?

Yes; I think she was concerned with her own status and legacy, and wanted to be seen to be successful. So it was more important for her to retain a degree of Serbian collaboration that would allow the trials to take place according to the ICTY's timetables, even if, in return, she had to give Belgrade concessions - such as allowing Belgrade to submit censored records of the Supreme Defense Council. I do not want to imply, however, that this was just del Ponte's personal failing. The ICTY is a bureaucratic institution with its own institutional interests, which are not the same as an interest in justice.

Do you think that del Ponte was ready to give certain cessions to Serbia as an aggressor on Croatia, in exchange for Milosevic?

The ICTY, of course, had no jurisdiction to rule on 'crimes against the peace', i.e. crimes of aggression. But, on the basis of Geoffrey Nice's letter to Jutarnji List, it appears that del Ponte gave Belgrade concessions over the submitting of censored documents of the Supreme Defense Council, without taking into account (or perhaps without caring) about how this would negatively impact upon Bosnia's case against Serbia at the ICJ. So, for del Ponte's 'little' concessions to Serbia, a heavy price has been paid at the expense of justice. But del Ponte is also not a very sophisticated person, and she has stated in the past that she does not care who was the aggressor and who was the victim. So the burden of the indictments have fallen on the small fry; the little people; Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia rather than top officials from Serbia; collaborators rather than aggressors. It was easier for the ICTY to pursue Milan Babic, a local collaborator of Milosevic who at least was ready to testify against him, rather than his former puppet-masters in Belgrade who were much more guilty.

Why evidences against the military and political top of Yugoslavia were not given to national governments as evidences against suspected war criminals?

The ICTY deliberately maintained a distance from the former Yugoslavs themselves; it did not want to allow former Yugoslavs to assume prominent functions in its own institutions; and it did not want to be seen to be too close to the national governments. The ICTY may have felt that to be closer to them; to collaborate with them more openly, would have compromised its reputation of impartiality.

Did Carla del Ponte at any moment tell you that there won't be indictments against the Yugoslavian generals and political top of Yugoslavia, and if so, why?

No, she did not. She only had personal contact with the more senior members of the investigative teams, and I do not know what she told them. But while I was working at the ICTY, in 2001, I believed that at least some of the members of the 'joint criminal enterprise' from the ranks of the top Serbian/Yugoslav leadership would eventually be indicted. And indeed, Stanisic and Simatovic were eventually indicted, separately from Milosevic. But I did not predict that Adzic, Kadijevic, Jovic and Kostic would escape justice; if del Ponte had already in 2001 decided not to pursue them, then that was kept secret from most or all of the investigators.

Why there was no indictments against Yugoslavian presidency in Belgrade and top of Yugoslavian army for war crimes and genocides?

See my answers above.

Why did you leave Office of the Prosecutor?
The British Academy offered me a fellowship at the University of Cambridge, for postdoctoral research in history. I was reluctant to leave the ICTY, as I was committed to the cause of bringing the war criminals to justice, and also because of the chance it gave me to carry out research into the Milosevic regime. But for my career as a historian, and in order to have the chance to finish writing my books on Bosnian history, I decided to leave the ICTY and go to Cambridge. I should say also that my contract with the ICTY was a short-term one; although I think this contract would have been renewed repeatedly, I did not formally have job-security in my ICTY post. So for my personal development, research and career, I left the ICTY. But if I had not been offered the post at Cambridge, I would have remained at the ICTY.


4. Croatian Society of Victimology To: UN SECURITY COUNCIL

Attn.: Sir Emyr Jones Perry, British Ambassador to the United Nations

President of the Security Council


In the name of all victims of the war waged by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and the Serb military and paramilitary forces, we are herewith accusing Carla Del Ponte, of committing a grave crime of abusing official position and powers and, consequently, inflicting immeasurable damage on the peoples of the countries affected by the aggression that she had concealed, while on duty of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 1999, and the high UN official appointed by the UN Security Council, during which time she made a deal with Goran Svilanovic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and gave her consent for the implementation of the measures to protect the «reasonable» part of the collection of the Yugoslav and Serbian documents, thus providing Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) with an opportunity to conceal the evidence on involvement of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in the wars in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which there exist incontestable proofs in the recent article published by the New York Times and in the open letter of the prominent British attorney-at-law Sir Geoffrey Nice, the prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Miloševic, therefore, we request from the Security Council

- to immediately remove Carla Del Ponte from the office of the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY,

- to promptly request declassification of the documents that prove direct involvement of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in the wars waged in the former Yugoslavia

- to take under consideration the actions and operations of the ICTY regarding this case.

In Zagreb, April 17, 2007

For the Croatian Society of Victimology:

President of the Croatian Society of Victimology dr. Zvonimir Šeparovic and Board members

Jadranka Lucic, secretary of the Croatian Society of Victimology,

Domagoj Ante Petric, publicist, deputy chairman of the Croatian Heritage Foundation,

Miljenko Romic, academic painter, author of the Ovcara Memorial Home

Srecko Cvitanovic, chairman of the Main Committee of the Corps of Croatian Defense «Nikola Šubic Zrinski»


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