Florence Hartmann Support Committee
2009 07 01
On July 1st 09:00 -- 13:45 - continuation of the cross examination of Natasa Kandic and ending of the presentation of the pieces of evidence.
On July 3rd, 09:00 - noon -- closing speeches for the prosecution and the defense.
This hearing was dedicated to the end of Natasa Kandic's testimony. Mainly it was the cross-examination of the well-known Serbian activist and for the prosecution M. Mc Farlane adopted a very offensive strategy.
First, he tried to rebut Ms Kandic as a valid witness by describing her both as an activist whose only purpose in this trial was to promote her objectives, and as a personal friend of Ms Hartmann who could only stand with her for personal reasons. Those who know Ms Kandic won't be surprised to read that she retorted very firmly, precisely and in a most determined way.
She made a point that her standing as a witness for the defence had nothing to do with emotions, but with principles first, and second that her objectives in this trial were purely based on the defence of these principles.
She demonstrated with a great deal of examples that both the existence of the minutes of the DSC and the decision to classify them in order to prevent the ICJ to use them in the case of genocide were public knowledge and commonly discussed in the media and the Human Rights organisations well before the publishing of Mrs Hartmann's book. She even recalled some discussions in Serbia in 2007 where M. Stovanovic -who had been the leader of the Serbian defence team at the ICJ - had said that he would like these documents made public.
Being accused of partiality because she was discussing the necessity to grant protection to Serbia, Ms Kandic made a clear statement that is worth noticing and can be used in the future: it is obvious, she said that protection must be granted to the people who accept to testify about crimes that they witnessed; obvious also that some states that are not accused of these crimes, but may hold information that can be used against alleged criminals, must be granted this same protection for their "national security". But she said, it should be different when the states are incriminated to having committed crimes, as is the case for Serbia during the Milosevic years.
Citing Prosecutor S. Brammetz declarations about the absolute necessity of having the states cooperating with the Tribunal, M. Mc Farlane suggested that it was necessary to grant this protection to Serbia in order to obtain its true and sincere cooperation in searching alleged criminals and sending them to The Hague. But Ms Kandic refuted this risk of "blackmail" as most unlikely and never heard of through all these years.
As spectators of this hearing, we were surprised by the toughness, unkindness and sometime extreme rudeness of M. Mc Farlane towards Ms Kandic. We appreciated all the more the several occasions when Judge GŁney asked questions giving Ms Kandic the opportunity to precise how she, as a Serb living in Serbia was asking for this protection to be withheld in order to give some hope of "a radiant future" for her country.
Let's end with this statement: as M. Mc Farlane was asking her "so you would not like to see her (MS Hartmann) convicted?" Ms Kandic answered quite clearly "I will correct: I truly believe that there is not a single valid reason to sentence her (Ms Hartmann)".
No need to say we think the same.