The more the ICTY is scrutinised, the less likely a miscarriage of justice is to occur.
The Trial of Domagoj Margetic
All: My thoughts on the Domagoj Margetic trial.
Margetic was put on trial last Thursday. He is
charged for contempt of court for revealing a list of
protected witnesses in the Blaskic trial. I
watched most of the trial on the ICTYs internet
stream on the day, including Domagojs testimony.
Domagoj is not allowed to discuss his testimony, but
he has been told his testimony was given in closed
session by the ICTY.
If this is correct, I can say this is not true. I
watched Domagojs testimony, as I say above, on the
Internet from the ICTY website. It was an open and
public session, as far as I could make out.
Furthermore, none other than the SENSE agency reported
on some of Domagojs testimony. Certainly they do not
believe that his evidence was held in closed session.
You can see their report at:http://www.sense-agency.com/en/stream.php?sta=3&pid=8916&kat=3
Watching the trial, I was somewhat disturbed by the
whole thing. Some of the early part was in closed
session, and one witness was a secret one I.e features
blurred, no name, voice distortion.
Margetics lawyer entered into evidence a court
decision dated 22 August agreeing to a prosecution
motion requesting that confidential witness lists made
public in the Jovic trial on 11 July be made secret.
This would mean that those witness lists were public
information between 11 July and 22 August - it was in
this period that Margetic published the lists.
You can see a copy of that decision here:http://www.croatianworldwideassociation.com/site/files
Furthermore, also entered into evidence was the ICTY
press briefing on the matter given on 23 August which
stated In the Jovic case, Trial Chamber III yesterday
granted a prosecution motion seeking to remove an
exhibit, initially made public, of two lists of
witnesses in the Blaskic case identifying protected
witnesses whose names should have been kept
You can see that statement at:http://www.un.org/icty/briefing/2006/PB060823.htm
Margetics lawyer was unable to enter into evidence
material from the Jovic case itself - the lists
entered as evidence in public - the prosecution
apparently having not turned it over.
The court adjourned whilst efforts were made to find
that evidence. The prosecutor, Ann Sutherland came
back saying they could not find it.
This defies belief; how can the ICTY not find their
How can Ann Sutherland not find it? It was Ann
Sutherland who wrote the motion requesting the lists
be made confidential as can clearly be seen on the
motion. How can she claim it was not made public, as
at one point she seemed to me to do?
Surprisingly, the judges decided to proceed with the
Domagoj gave a good account during his own testimony,
and especially during cross-examination. He said he
believed that the lists were public, and that his
reasons for doing so were to demonstrate false
testimony (with reference to Croatian President Stipe
Mesic) and that four of the prosecution witnesses were
mujahadeen types who were allegedly connected to
terrorism; Margetic has written a book on such issues
pertaining to Bosnia-Herzegovina. If true, this is
obviously not something the ICTY would want widely
known, which may help explain this prosecution.
Sutherland appeared agitated throughout her
cross-examination, calling Domagoj a liar at one
point. Her claim that the Domagoj published the lists
to do damage was rationally answered by his pointing
out if that were his intent, he would have done so
prior to the ICTY making it public on July 11. He had
the list weeks earlier - it was actually given to him
by the prosecutors themselves in relation to previous
charges against him regarding publishing Stipe Mesics
name and identity - charges which were dropped.
Ann Sutherland for some reason side tracked into the
issue of Stipe Mesic, asking how Margetic knew he had
lied in the Blaskic trial - not strictly relevant to
the case at hand. Margetic replied that he simply
cross-examined Mesics testimony in the Blaskic and
Milosevic case - cross-examining being something
prosecutors themselves do.
Amusingly, Margetic also pointed out the Mesics
secret testimony was allegedly published on the
Serbian Veritas website, saying this is where many
journalists had got it from. This pre-dates the
publication of that testimony by Josip Jovic who was
found guilty of contempt for publishing it. Margetics
mention of it probably was not something the
prosecutor wanted heard - especially as Veritas was
given a glowing letter of endorsement by the
prosecutors after they had allegedly published it.
Needless to say, Veritas was never indicted.
Clearly, there is reasonable doubt in this case. It
would be most surprising if the witness lists made
public in the Jovic case bore no relation to what
Domagoj published. If the evidence from 11 July were
found, we would know for sure one way or the other;
how odd they have not been. And it would perhaps be
odd if they did suddenly appear and were somehow
Given the secrecy around this case, its not certain
that it will be thrown out. The Jovic case was a bad
precedent. Despite evidence that the ICTY published
the identity of Stipe Mesic on its own website, and
the large number of journalists who published his
identity before Jovic did - including the Institute
of War and Peace Reporting in London - he was found
guilty anyway. Incidentally, as far as a I am aware
IWPR has not criticised the judgement nor been
Perhaps Domagoj Margetic is being set up in the same
way? Especially when you consider that he was
imprisoned without charge for a month - the ICTY, and
the prosecutors in particular, would look bad if he
was then found not guilty.
The case continues on 8 December 2006, having over-run
We shall see what happens. In the meantime, any
publicity anyone can give to this case will be very
important; the more the ICTY is scrutinised, the less
likely a miscarriage of justice is to occur.
Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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