Bosnian war trial to hear Bowen evidence


BBC Breakfast presenter Jeremy Bowen is to give evidence at the trial of two Bosnian Croats charged with war crimes by the International Tribunal.

A BBC documentary, Unfinished Business, made by the former foreign correspondent during an ethnic cleansing campaign against Bosnian Muslims in 1993, will also be used as evidence during the trial.

Bowen, who covered the Bosnian conflict in the early Nineties, has already submitted written evidence to the tribunal, which begins next month. He is expected to give evidence at The Hague in October.

The two men, who together have been indicted with 22 counts of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, are Mladen Naletic, also known as ‘Tuta’, the commander of the notorious Convicts Battalion, and Vinko Martinovic, his right-hand man and commander of a sub-unit of the Battalion.

Tuta also faces specific charges of murder, torture and the use of captured Muslims as human shields in fighting.

Bowen, the only journalist to go inside Mostar for any length of time during the Croat seige, between May 1993 and March 1994, will be asked to describe conditions in the town.

Doug Stringer, trial attorney in the office of the prosecutor, said the film, made in Mostar and Jablanica, was "unique" because Bowen was "the only journalist we are aware of who spent any significant time there".

"It is a documentary we think very dramatically shows the nature of the conflict," said Stringer. "It contains some of the only footage that exists of the war crimes as they are happening."

Bowen went twice into the area. On his first visit he had to walk cross country for several days. The second time, he spent three weeks making the documentary, which was broadcast in November 1993.

"I am very proud of the film. It gave a good picture of what was going on," said Bowen. "It was difficult to get in and very dangerous to be there, but from a journalist’s point of view it was a brilliant story."

By Julie Tomlin

No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *