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Chief ICTY prosecutor cut off at outset of courtroom speech on Srebrenica

[JURIST] Chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte [official profile] was unceremoniously cut off at a Friday hearing for seven Bosnian Serbs indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] in connection with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre when she began a speech memorializing the massacre's 11th anniversary. Defense counsel objected to the speech, calling it "emotive," and despite del Ponte's declaration that she was "stupefied" and that it was usual for her to make a statement at the beginning of a trial, the judge ruled she should wait for opening arguments in the case, now scheduled for August 21.

The Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder], where Bosnian Serbs killed more than 8,000 Muslims over a five-day period in July of 1995, remains the only incident the ICTY has ruled a genocide. All seven defendants face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, while only five are charged with genocide. The two alleged organizers of the Srebrenica massacre, Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile], have not been captured. US and British agents are now assisting the Mladic manhunt [JURIST report].

ICTY case materials for the defendants - Ljubisa Beara, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Drago Nikolic, Vujadin Popovic, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero - can be found here. AFP has more.

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