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Delayed ICTY war crimes trial of former Yugoslav army chief begins

[JURIST] The trial of former Yugoslav army chief of staff and general Momcilo Perisic began [ICTY press release] Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] at The Hague. The trial was scheduled to commence Wednesday but was postponed [JURIST report] due to a procedural glitch in the naming of judges; it was restarted after the court received notification from the UN Security Council that the terms of two ad litem judges would be extended, making them able to hear the case. ICTY Prosecutor Mark Harmon said Perisic was one of the "principal collaborators" of late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], claiming [BBC report] in his opening statement that Perisic "created an environment of impunity, wherein his subordinates were encouraged and did persist to commit crimes, knowing there would be no consequences." AP has more.

Perisic was indicted by ICTY in 2005 on charges [indictment, PDF] including murder, persecution on grounds of politics, race, or religion, and unjustified attacks on civilians in the early 1990s in conflicts with Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. As well as being held individually responsible for these acts, Perisic is also being charged with command responsibility for the actions of his subordinates under Article 7(3) [official text] of the ICTY Statute.

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