Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hague trial against Macedonia's Boskovski

Boskoski defense begins in The Hague

Trial of former Minister of Interior Ljube Boskoski on case "Ljuboten" began Wednesday in the Hague Tribunal with the introductory statement of defense lawyers.

Boskoski's lawyer Edina Rasidovic stressed he is not accused of doing or taking part in the execution of any type of crime act, but that he is indicted of "pure command responsibility".

"Our position is that evidence presented thus far do not prove such responsibility by Ljube Boskoski", said Rasidovic.

According to her, in a case where consequences are grave, the prosecutor could not hope that deficiencies in evidence could be compensated by facts, which have not been proven.

"We are convinced that the prosecutor did not call certain witnesses to take the stand, because he was aware they could jeopardize his case by their testimony. However, this cannot justify the prosecutor", emphasized Rasidovic.

She said that the defense presents evidence and summons witnesses not because it needs to present something new or provide additional explanations.

"The reason why we present defense evidence is neither to determine the absence of Boskoski's responsibility, because we claim that his alleged responsibility has not been determined during the presentation of the Prosecution's evidence", stated Rasidovic.

She stressed the defense believes that the Court Council could release Boskoski on the basis on presented evidence.

"We want to remove even the slightest doubt that the prosecutor has left standing regarding issues of importance for the case. We hope that our evidence will give a positive contribution in clearing up these vague things, thus giving the opportunity to the Court Council to pass the judgment without any doubt", said Rasidovic.

She stated that evidence would show that it is impossible to conclude that Boskoski did not undertake all possible reasonable measures in the given circumstances.

"We have faith that this Court will pass the only just decision - release of Ljube Boskoski", concluded defense lawyer Edina Rasidovic at the end of the introductory statement.

The trial will resume with the hearing of the first of 15 defense witnesses. Four of them will testify on the spot, while 11 have provided written statements.

The trial of Boskoski and Tarculovski began on April 16, 2007, with the hearing of about 50 witnesses summoned by the prosecutors.

Former Minister of Interior Ljube Boskoski and police inspector Johan Tarculovski are charged with violation of laws and customs of war regarding the Ljuboten case. Boskoski is charged with "command responsibility" i.e. he approved Tarculovski to form and lead a police unit, which in August 2001 carried out an operation in Ljuboten when seven residents of Albanian nationality were killed.

Despite guaranties provided by the Macedonian Government, the Tribunal did not grant provisional release to Boskoski and Tarculovski.

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