Serbs Seek Justice in Hague War Crimes Trial

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Blamed for much of the horror of Bosnia's war, angry Serbs sought justice Monday against three Moslems and a Croat charged with gang rape, torture and murder at a Bosnian concentration camp.


The defendants, indicted on charges of atrocities in the Celebici camp in central Bosnia, went before the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the first collective war crimes trial since those following World War II.


In his opening statement, prosecutor Eric Ostberg said Serbs held for months at the camp were "murdered, tortured, raped and beaten by guards at the prison and by outside persons who were permitted to come into the camp.''


Seventy-six survivors have been selected by the prosecutors to testify. Among them was Grozda Cecez, a Serb woman in her 60s who said she was raped in the camp, located in a Moslem-dominated area.


"I want justice, nothing more and nothing less. I will say how it was,'' Cecez said before the trial opened.


Monday's opening was cut short by squabbling over procedures and technicalities, prompting a recess after three hours. The trial was to resume Tuesday.


A defense attorney demanded that the defense be given the addresses of witnesses in order to contact them and verify their accounts. Prosecutors protested, citing the need to protect them from possible retaliation by Moslems or Croats. Presiding Judge Adolphus Karibi-Whyte of Nigeria said he would rule later on the issue.


The defendants are Zejnil Delalic, 49, a Moslem military commander in the region; Zdravko Mucic, 41, a Croat and the camp's commander; Hazim Delic, 36, his Moslem deputy; and Esad Landzo, 23, a guard. All four have pleaded innocent to the charges. They face life sentences if convicted.