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Major war crimes trial opens The Hague

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Major war crimes trial opens The Hague


The war crimes trial of five former Bosnian Serb officers has started in The Hague with a clash between chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte and the defence team. They objected to Del Ponte’s opening statement saying it was too emotional.

She responded angrily arguing the chief prosecutor had the right to speak at the start of an International Criminal Tribunal trial: “I will be able and free to speak as prosecutor in this tribunal in this case. And no emotion, absolutely no emotion… facts! my dear defence lawyers, facts!”

In her opening statement, Del Ponte had started describing the moving ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre which she attended earlier this week. The five accused face charges of genocide over the 1995 killing which claimed the lives of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys.

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