The trial of former Croatian general Ante Gotovina at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has concluded amid allegations of underhand tactics by the prosecution. Against the rules of a criminal trial, the prosecution brought new arguments in the closing statement.
Gotovina (54) has been on trial at the ICTY since March 2008. He is charged with organising a campaign of murder and plundering which had driven up to 200,000 ethnic Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995.
Ethnic Serbs declared the territory to be Serbian in 1991.
The prosecution called for gotovina to be sentences to 27 years. Meanwhile, the defense argued the defendant took all necessary measures to prevent crimes.
Luka Misetic, Gotovina’s defense lawyer, says that although there has been a fair trial, the defense office has been deprived of the right to refute the arguments brought by the prosecution in their final statement last Tuesday.
He told IJT: “It’s improper for the prosecutor to raise new arguments at the end of a trial. Those types of arguments need to be addressed during the trial, so that both the chamber and the defense have the opportunity to test the prosecutors”.
Misetic thinks the reason for these last-minute allegations is that the arguments of the prosecution were discredited by the defense during the trial.
“The prosecution wanted to come up with new theories to advance its case…but the accused has the right to hear what the allegations against him are during the trial so he has an opportunity to address them. That didn’t happen here”, he said.
The former general, who spends his time painting portraits in jail, is optimistic about the result of the judgement, which Misetic expects within ten months.