First prosecution witness heard in Ivanovic trial
The cross-examination of the first prosecution witness in a case against Oliver Ivanovic and four other Serbs was completed at the on Thursday.Source: Tanjug
During the evidence hearing, which was begun yesterday, the witness, Isa Mustafa, a Kosovo Albanian, said that Ivanovic had been the head of a Serb paramilitary police unit who had encouraged his subordinates to kill four Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica on April 14, 1999.
The prosecution presented Mustafa, worker at the Kosovo Energy Corporation and former football referee, as a crucial witness, and he was questioned by Ivanovic’s lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic.
Vlajic told reporters after the hearing that the witness had spoken about the controversial events, but had said that he could not be sure that Ivanovic had played a key role and that it was possible that someone else had given the orders.
The defense counsel said that the testimony was not proving anything, pointing out that the international trial chamber presided over by judge Roxana Comsa sought to establish the truth.
The question remains, however, if the prosecution will even call witnesses who will speak the truth, said Vlajic.
Ivanovic is charged with acting in his capacity as chief of the so-called Bridge Watchers group (who protected north Kosovska Mitrovica from intrusion by Albanian extremists from the southern part of the city) and ordering the murder of four ethnic Albanians that occurred in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica on April 14, 1999 (during the armed conflict in Kosovo and NATO bombing of Serbia).
The SDP leader is also charged with being responsible for the murder of ten ethnic Albanians in the northern part of the city during unrest on February 3, 2000, sparked off by an incident in which a bomb was thrown into a cafe in north Mitrovica and left 14 Serbs injured.
The four other Serb defendants are Dragoljub Delibasic, father and son Ilija and Nebojsa Vujacic and Aleksandar Lazovic. They are charged with committing the crimes of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in February 2000.
Ivanovic is facing a sentence of between five years and a lifetime in prison.
The trial started on December 18 last year and all the accused pleaded not guilty. Currently underway is the process of cross-examining prosecution witnesses.