Judge Almiro Rodrigues, Presiding
Judge Fouad Riad
Judge Patricia Wald

Mrs. de Sampayo Garrido-Nijgh, Registrar

Decision of:
11 May 2000





The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Franck Terrier

Defence Counsel:

Mr. Branko Seric
Mr. Kresimir Krsnik


TRIAL CHAMBER I of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991;

BEING SEISED OF the "Defence’s Preliminary Motion," filed by the accused, Mladen Naletilic on 20 April 2000;

NOTING the "Prosecutor’s Response to Mladen Naletilic’s Preliminary Motion," filed on 8 May 2000;

NOTING that Rule 72(A) allows for preliminary motions challenging jurisdiction or alleging defects in the form of the indictment;

NOTING that the Defence argues that the indictment is defective as to jurisdiction because it alleges that particular acts were committed by the Army of the Republic of Croatia (HV), the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), or the Convict’s Battalion (KB), whereas the Tribunal’s Statute only gives it jurisdiction over natural persons, and not over collective organziations;

CONSIDERING, however, that as the Prosecution argues, the indictment was not brought against the HV, the HVO, or the KB but against Mr. Naletilic, a natural person, and alleges the individual responsibility of Mr. Naletilic as the commander of the KB for acts committed by KB troops acting alone and in conjunction with units of the HVO and HV, and necessarily refers to those entities for identification purposes;

NOTING that the Defence argues that the facts alleged in the "Background," "General Allegations," and "Superior Authority" sections of the indictment are not supported by evidence, and that they are not facts of such common knowledge that they may properly be the subject of judicial notice under Rule 94;

CONSIDERING that the facts in the "Background," "General Allegations," and "Superior Authority" sections of the indictment, just as in all other sections of the indictment, must ultimately be proven by the Prosecution if they are to be considered in rendering the judgement;

CONSIDERING also that, as the Prosecutor argues, it is well-established in the Tribunal’s jurisprudence that "a motion on the form of the indictment is not an appropriate way of challenging the evidence" and that proof of the facts alleged in the indictment is a matter for trial;

NOTING that the Defence argues that the descriptions of the crimes do not provide a "clear indication of the time of the crime perpetration, the manner, location, consequences, and the form of guilt," including the mode of individual responsibility under Article 7 of the Tribunal’s Statute;

CONSIDERING that the Trial Chamber already rejected the co-accused’s,

Mr. Martinovic’s, objections that the same portions of the indictment do not provide sufficient details in its "Decision on Defendant Vinko Martinovic’s Objection to the Indictment";

CONSIDERING that the explanations given in that Decision for rejecting Mr. Martinovic’s objections are equally applicable here;


DENIES the Defence’s Preliminary Motion.

Done in French and English, the English version being authoritative.


Done this eleventh day of May 2000,
At The Hague,
The Netherlands.

Almiro Rodrigues
Presiding Judge, Trial Chamber I

(Seal of the Tribunal)