|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 25 October 1996
Tadic case: press statement by the Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor is extremely concerned at today's revelation that Dragan OPACIC, a Prosecution witness previously identified as witness L , has lied to the investigators and the Court in relation to the accused's implication in some of the offences contained in the indictment. Counsel for the Prosecution accordingly advised the Court today that the Prosecution is no longer relying on the testimony of this witness as credible evidence.
Consistent with the long standing prosecutorial policy, the Prosecutor will not comment outside the courtroom on matters occuring in Court. The guilt or innocence of the accused on each one of the counts in the indictment is a matter for the Judges to decide.
However, very serious allegations have been made by Dragan OPACIC, which may have an impact beyond the facts of the Tadic case, including on the Prosecutor's relationship with the Bosnian government. The witness asserts that his evidence was fabricated at the instigation of the Bosnian authorities. The Prosecutor has launched an investigation into this matter and expects the full and expeditious co-operation of the Bosnian authorities. It would be imprudent and improper to speculate as to the outcome of this inquiry.
When Counsels for the defence recently introduced evidence which indicated that the witness may not be telling the truth in relation to his family, the Prosecutor commenced immediate investigations, and advised the Court accordingly. Then, at the first opportunity after the Prosecutor was satisfied that the witness was not a witness of truth, the Judges were immediately informed. The Prosecutor will continue through the current investigation to ensure the integrity of the information that he places before the Court.
The revelation of these serious matters are testament to the fact that the procedures of the Tribunal are working effectively. The exposition of the untruthfulness of a witness does not undermine the process: it vindicates it.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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