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Former Serb paramilitary commanders go on trial at ICTY

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] began the war crimes trial of two former Serb paramilitary commanders Monday. Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic [indictment, PDF] are charged with murder, persecution, forced deportations and inhuman acts during the 1991-95 Balkan wars. Both men have pleaded not guilty and face life sentences if convicted.

Their trial had previously been delayed several times amid worries that Stanisic would not be able to attend due to failing health, until the trial chamber ruled [text; press release] that Stanisic could remain in his cell and watch the proceedings via video. Stanisic's lawyer argued Monday that not having his client present at trial impaired his ability to mount an effective defense. AP has more.

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