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2006.01.16. – UN court orders U.S. company to muzzle secret testimony

UN court orders U.S. company to muzzle
secret testimony – WEB

UN court orders U.S. company to muzzle secret testimony

A Croatian journalist
charged by the UN war crimes tribunal with contempt of court for
publishing the secret testimony of a protected witness on the Internet
on Friday moved his website to a U.S. server and host, prompting
the tribunal to issue an order demanding the California company
terminate the site.

Domagoj Margetic on Wednesday
posted on his personal website what appeared to be testimony by
Croatian President Stipe Mesic during the 1997 trial of former Bosnian
Croat general Tihomir Blaskic, press reports said.

By early Thursday, the
audio recording of the testimony posted on Margetic’s website was
blocked by police order, police official Marijan Benko said.

The Zagreb county court
on Thursday issued an order to close down and terminate Margetic’s
website, www.domagojmargetic.com.

Margetic then switched
the information on his website–including the secret testimony–to
a U.S.-based server and host, www.lunarpages.com, located in California.

"I believe that
the United States will prevent the UN war crimes tribunal from trampling
on basic press freedoms," Margetic said. "The ball is
now in America’s court. I believe that as a journalist the U.S.
will not allow this assault on freedom of information to happen."

The Zagreb-based Vjecerni
List reports that the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague will issue
a court order to the California firm to take down and remove Margetic’s

Meanwhile, Mesic’s office
said the president wanted to remove the secrecy from his testimony.

"Mesic agreed that
Zagreb asks from the UN court to remove the notion of secrecy from
his testimony in order that it becomes available to the Croatian
public," his spokeswoman Danijela Barisic told AFP.

Last year the UN tribunal
in The Hague charged Margetic, a former journalist with the conservative
Hrvatsko Slovo newspaper, four other Croatian journalists and the
country’s former intelligence chief with contempt of court for revealing
the identity of a witness during the trial. The witness was Mesic,
according to local media.

They have all pleaded
not guilty.


ZAGREB, Jan 12 (Hina)
– The Internet site of controversial reporter Domagoj Margetic,
who is indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal for contempt of court,
has been closed in compliance with an order of the Zagreb County
Court’s investigating judge, the spokesman for the Croatian Interior
Ministry, Zlatko Mehun, said on Thursday evening.
The web site with the
address www.domagojmargetic.com has been closed and removed from
the Internet, the spokesman told Hina.
Acting on the judge’s
order, the Zagreb crime police also searched the computer and its
components as well as the medium for the storage of data in the
digital form which two Croatian citizens possess and use, but Mehun
declined to reveal the name of those two persons.
The police operation
was carried out at two locations.
Asked whether Domagoj
Margetic’s flat was searched alongside the computer, Mehun answered
that the search of the computer also required a warrant for the
search of the facilities where the computer was placed. However,
this did not refer to Margetic but to another two Croatian citizens
and two locations in the Republic of Croatia," the spokesman
explained, giving no other information.
Although the court banned
him from publicly presenting a testimony a protected witness had
given at the trial of Bosnian Croat Tihomir Blasic before the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Margetic published
the testimony in question on his web site on Wednesday evening.
The protected witness is the current Croatian President Stjepan
Mesic, who gave the testimony while he was an opposition politician.
On Thursday morning it
was reported that President Mesic had accepted a proposal by Prime
Minister Ivo Sanader that the Hague war crimes tribunal should be
requested to declassify the president’s protected testimony before
the tribunal and make it available to the public.
(Hina) ms
12.01.2006. 22:40 MET

Croatian journalist Domagoj
Margetic on 11 January posted an audio recording of President Stipe
Mesic testifying at the Hague-based ICTY in defiance of a court
order, Hina reported the same day. Police in Zagreb raided the offices
of the Croatian Disabled War Veterans Association (HVIDRA) on 9
January and detained Margetic to prevent him from playing the recording
there (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 January 2005). The audiotape
records Mesic’s testimony in the trial of Bosnian Croat General
Tihomir Blaskic. The Hague war crimes tribunal has indicted Margetic
for publishing part of the protected testimony in the Croatian press.


ZAGREB, Jan 12 (Hina)
– The chief of the Zagreb Police Crime Investigation Division, Zeljko
Prsa, has been relieved of his duties for lack of tact shown by
the police during Monday’s raid on the offices of the Disabled War
Veterans Association (HVIDRA), Interior Minister Ivica Kirin announced
at a press conference on Thursday.

The police did not break
the law or exceed their authority, but the whole case could have
been handled in such a way as not to harm the reputation of the
police or disabled war veterans, Kirin said.

The minister said that
the raid could have been avoided altogether and that journalist
Domagoj Margetic, who is indicted by the Hague war crimes tribunal,
could have been thwarted before in his design to play in the HVIDRA
offices a recording of protected testimony given before the tribunal
by President Stjepan Mesic.

Kirin insisted that the
police had not beaten up war veterans during the raid.

However, one of the HVIDRA members who had been arrested in the
raid turned up at the press conference and called the minister a

"The minister did
not tell the truth nor did these gentlemen here (referring to police
director Marijan Benko and state secretary Ivica Buconjic). The
police did overstep their authority," Ante Jurendic said. "We
were taken in as a criminal organisation, and we did not even think
of putting up even passive resistance," he added.

Kirin responded by saying
that he had asked HVIDRA to present its evidence to show that the
police had acted against the law. He said that HVIDRA should have
submitted the recording and thus make the work of the police easier.

Reiterating that he was
only interested in the truth, Kirin said that the police would never
again be used against war veterans as long as he was in office.

The minister said that
Prsa’s dismissal was only the first step in sorting out the situation
in all police departments to ensure that superior officers start
taking responsibility for orders they give. Other dismissals will
follow once the internal investigation is over, he added.

Benko said that the police would pay special attention to training
in order to avoid a repetition of the situation that occurred in
the HVIDRA offices, and stressed that the police would certainly
continue to enforce court orders.

Commenting on the announcement
by Margetic that he would post the disputed testimony on his Internet
site, Benko said that the police had already blocked access to the
recording on that web page.

HVIDRA’s Zagreb branch
said at a press conference on Thursday it had pressed charges against
chief of police Kresimir Sulc and three unidentified police officers
for illegal search of premises, ill-treatment and causing bodily

(Hina) vm

12.01.2006. 15:36 MET

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