Serb nationalist a 'scapegoat for ethnic horrors'
Wednesday 08 May 1996
On its opening day, the tribunal for the former Yugoslavia heard prosecutor Grant Niemann describe Dusan "Dusko" Tadic as a committed Serb nationalist who killed, raped and tortured Moslems and Croats during a horrific "ethnic cleansing" campaign in Bosnia in 1992.
But Michail Wladimiroff, for the defence, said the 40-year-old cafe- owner and karate teacher was a victim of the need for survivors to find somebody to blame for their suffering.
Tadic, the first person to face an international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War Two, is charged with crimes against non-Serbs at the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps in northwest Bosnia in 1992. Niemann, an Australian, accused Tadic of committing atrocities in the camps as part of a systematic reign of terror aimed at driving Moslems and Croats away from the Prijedor area, so that Serbs could claim it for themselves. Tadic had visited the three camps at will to kill and maltreat inmates, Niemann alleged.
Wladimiroff, a Dutch lawyer, refuted this, saying that unspeakable crimes had occurred in the camps, but that his client was not involved. Wladimiroff said that after Tadic was arrested in Germany, following a chance sighting by an alleged victim, he had become a convenient target for for those who had suffered at the hands of Serbs and sought revenge. Survivors of the camps had discussed their ordeal, but their recollections were distorted and Tadic had become the villain, he claimed.
"The tribunal must be wary of the desire for revenge and the need for a scapegoat," Wladimiroff told the three judges. "The thirst for revenge must not be satisfied at the well of polluted justice," he said.
The presiding judge, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, of the US, opened the proceedings - expected to last several months - by stressing Tadic's right to a fair trial. Tadic, married with two young daughters, has always denied the charges and protested his innocence again in a telephone interview with Dutch television on the eve of his trial. "Absolute lies have been made about me. The prosecutor has accepted them blindly and has not taken the time to investigate a single one of those accusations," he claimed.
Tadic was arrested in February 1994 and has spent over two years in jail awaiting trial. Dressed in a dark suit and tie, Tadic seemed tense, but waved to a person he recognised in the public gallery. Over 100 witnesses are likely to be called, some of whom will give evidence by satellite from the Serb-controlled area of Bosnia.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...