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(E) Croatian journalist indicted by ICTY asks for help
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/20/2005 | Letters to the Editors | Unrated
(E) Croatian journalist indicted by ICTY asks for help


Croatian journalist indicted by ICTY asks for help


I attach 3 items below concerning the outrageous
indictment of 4 croatian journalists by the ICTY, who
may face imprisonment. The first is a letter to the
ICTY from Reporters Without Borders. The other two
are appeals from Domagoj Margetic
(, one of the journalists
indicted. As can be seen, he is threatening to go on
hunger strike.

The Veritas organisiation, mentioned in the below
letter from Reporters without Borders, already
published the testimony by Croatian President Stipe
Mesic - which led to the indictments - some years
prior to the indicted journalists. This organisation
has been publicly endorsed by the ICTY
( Clearly
is evidence of favourtism - they have not indicted
their friends for doing the same thing.

I would also point that Strbac, in charge of Veritas,
took part in the occupation of Croatia which the ICTY
called a criminal enterprise. The ICTY has not
investigated Strbac, but has endorsed him. This makes
the attack on these journalists even more

Kind regards

Brian Gallagher

Reporters sans frontières
5, rue Geoffroy-Marie
75009 Paris - France

Tel. 33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax. 33 1 45 23 11 51

E-mail :
Web :

The Clerk of the Court
International Criminal Court
Churchillplein 1
2517 JW
The Hague

Dear Sir,

Reporters Without Borders, an international
organisation that defends press freedom, would like to
voice its concern as to the consequences for press
freedom of the trial of three Croatian journalists,
Ivica Marijacic, Stjepan Seselj and Domagoj Margetic,
who are accused of contempt of the International
Criminal Court in the Hague for failing to respect
certain protection orders and who face a maximum
sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of
100,000 euros.

We think a symbolic sentence would be the most
appropriate decision as regards these journalists in
order to avoid setting a dangerous precedent and
because of the priorities of the International
Criminal Court, of which the chief task is to try the
most serious international crimes.

Furthermore, these three Croatian journalists were not
the first to reveal – in November 2004 in Hrvatski
List, Hrvatsko Slovo and Novo Hrvatsko Slovo – the
identity of a protected witness, namely the current
Croatian president, Stipe Mesic, and the secret
transcripts of the 1997 trial of the Bosnian Croat
general, Tihomir Blaskic. This confidential
information had already been published on the Veritas
Centre for Collecting Documents and Information
website ( in 1999, and by the
Bosnian daily Bih Dani on 1 June 2001.

Finally, the fact that the protected witness is
Croatia’s president means that the publication of his
name, although a breach of the law, does not endanger
his safety.

We trust you will give this matter your careful
consideration and will appreciate the points we have


Robert MĂŠnard


From public sources, You probably learned that the
ICTY in The Hague has indicted three prominent
journalists in Croatia—Ivica Marijacic (editor in
chief Hrvatski list Zadar), Domagoj Margetic (former
editor in chief of Hrvatsko slovo and Novo hrvatsko
slovo) and Stjepan Seselj. It is also our
understanding that another Croatian journalist, Josip
Jovic, the former editor-in-chief and current popular
columnist for Slobodna Dalmacija, is also in the
process of being indicted by the ICTY. These
journalists are being indicted for the alleged crime
of contempt of the tribunal, pursuant to Rule 77 of
the ICTY’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, for
publishing the identity and statements of protected
witnesses in the Tihomir Blaskic case. The
journalists face a possible punishment of a 100,000
Euro fine and seven years in prison.

In part, the indictments appear to be based on the
publication of "secret testimony" given by Croatian
President Stipe Mesic to the ICTY. It is our
understanding that at the time of the publication, the
testimony was already available on the Internet and
that the fact of President Mesic's testimony had
already been publicly admitted by him. Even if this
were not true, it would also appear that it is the
responsibility of the tribunal, and not that of the
Croatian or international media, to make sure that
secret witness testimony is not leaked to the public.

As you know, it is a common tactic of dictatorial
regimes to prosecute journalists who criticize public
officials by using what appear to be accepted legal
doctrines, such as defamation. Thus, we are
particularly disturbed that some of the journalists
indicted have heretofore written articles critical of
the ICTY.

It is the role of journalists in a free society to
hold public officials accountable for their actions,
and to reveal sensitive, even privileged information
in order to inform the public. The public’s right to
be informed, along with the rights of journalists to
publish their reporting free of any censorship, is at
the core of an open, free press.

We believe that these indictments clearly fall within
the definition of what constitutes “attacks on the

We therefore request Your urgent action and help to
indicted Croatian journalists and we ask You to
investigate the ICTY's actions and determine whether
they are consistent with generally accepted notions of
freedom of the press that prevail in truly democratic

Domagoj Margetic, journalist
Indicted in ICTY-Hague International Tribunal

I am indicted by The Hague International Tribunal for
war Crimes, because of the contempt of Court, as
Croatian journalist and publicist.

In last several months I warned Croatian Government
and other relevant institutions that I don’t have
financial sources to finance my defense at The Hague
Tribunal, but they ignored that information.

As I wrote I don't have financial sources to finance my
defense and in Croatia political situation is not good
for the journalists which are indicted in Hague, so I
cannot get any place to work, to write, and to earn my
pay check every month. I am on so called BLACK LIST OF
JOURNALISTS. So I don't have even financial sources for
my every day life.

Now The Hague Tribunal refused to register my
attorney Zeljko Dumancic from Zagreb, out of unknown
reasons. So now I am left without any legal assistance
as the indicted journalist at The Hague.

I demand from the Government of Croatia, as ex deputy
prime minister dr. Andrija Hebrang said that the
Government secretly finance some of the indicted
persons at the Hague, but the others doesn't have that
privilege, so I demand that the Government of Croatia
equally finance my defense.

At this moment my rights are in danger
right to justice at the Tribunal,
right to defense and legal help,
they are breaking the rules of the Hague Tribunal
the Government put me at the list of those indicted
persons ate The Hague which they are not to finance,
out of their secret reasons.

If they don't find the solution for these problems
until the Friday 26.8.2005., I'll start hunger strike
until the end.

The Government is not respecting our human and citizen
rights by strange and non transparent financing of
some indicted persons and not financing the others. I
am put in the unequal position at the Tribunal, and
in the legal sense.

I urge You again to help us, indicted Croatian
journalists at The Hague tribunal.

Domagoj Margetic


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