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14 March 2008
News

Klickovic: Former investigative judge to be in defence team

BIRN BiH
Hamdija Veladzic, a former investigative judge from Bihac will be in the Defence team for Gojko Klickovic despite objections from the Prosecution for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to allow Hamdija Veladzic to be a member for the Defence team for Gojko Klickovic, a former senior official of the Serb Democrat Party, SDS, accused of war crimes in Bosanska Krupa.

The previous judge hearing the case released Veladzic from his duty as additional attorney in January this year due to the fact that he served as investigative judge during the probe against Klickovic, and examined some of the witnesses that Prosecution is planning to invite during the evidence hearing.

The Defence attorney and indictee's complaint was accepted and quashed despite a suggestion by Prosecutor Philip Alcoc in a previous hearing of the possibility of inviting Veladzic, himself as a witness. Alcoc emphasised that this is one of the reasons way Veladzic cannot be defence attorney.

The investigation against Klickovic started in August 1992 at the Bihac Court and the State Prosecution took over the case in 2006.

Klickovic is charged, as a senior official of the SDS and the Serbian Bosanska Krupa Municipal Assembly as well as a commander of the Crisis Committee, of participating in the attacks and capture of a large number of civilians and soldiers in the area around the towns of Bosanska Krupa, Bosanska Otoka and Ostruznica. The indictment alleges that Klickovic is responsible for having failed to punish his subordinates who committed the criminal offences.

According to provisions of the Criminal Law procedures in Bosnia, the defence attorney cannot be a person serving as a judge or prosecutor in the same case.

''The Preliminary hearing judge listed seven witnesses from which the defence attorney took statements during 1992. However, he failed to acknowledge the fact that during that time criminal proceedings were not held against Gojko Klickovic. Evidence gathering in one case, which can be used in other cases later on, cannot be the basis for a conclusion in the same case,'' was used in an explanation for the Court decision, adding that applying this criteria would be ''aimless, unjust and absurd.''

Although they have no right to file a complaint, the Court did give the opportunity to the Prosecution to respond to the complaint from the other side, which they failed to do.
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