LM press releases
7 May 1997
The Truth behind the Tadic trial and Trnopolje camp
Today trial judges at the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague handed
down their verdict on DUSKO TADIC. Although Tadic was found guilty
on other counts, the Trial Chamber II was unable to find any evidence
that Tadic committed persecution (specifically rape, torture,
forced confinement and mass murder) at the Bosnian Serb-run Trnopolje
camp during the civil war in 1992.
The judges confirmed that when it came to the events alleged to
have taken place at Trnopolje camp 'most of the allegations were
supported only by the testimony of Dragan Opacic, whose testimony
under the pseudonym of Witness L, was later withdrawn'. What the
judges failed to explain, however, was exactly why the entire
evidence of such a key witness should have been 'withdrawn'.
The truth is that Dragan Opacic's evidence was discredited because
he was exposed as a trained liar while on the stand at The Hague.
As Thomas Deichmann explained in his article 'The Picture that
Fooled the World', published in February's LM magazine, Opacic was forced to admit that the police in Sarajevo
had schooled him for the witness box.
Opacic told the Tribunal stories of gang rape, torture and murder
at Trnopolje. Most famously, he drew a map of Trnopolje depicting
a barbed wire fence surrounding the camp. These stories were exposed
as a pack of lies. There was no barbed wire fence surrounding
the camp. So where did Opacic get the idea from?
While schooling him for the witness stand, the Bosnian authorities
repeatedly showed Opacic videotapes of Dusko Tadic and of Trnopolje,
which he scarcely knew. Prominent among these tapes was the famous
footage shot by an ITN news team in August 1992 - the pictures
of Fikret Alic and other Bosnian Muslims apparently caged behind
a barbed wire fence which, as Thomas Deichmann has revealed, gave
the world the false impression that Trnopolje was a Nazi-style
The discrediting of Witness L's evidence was never mentioned in
the British media. Now it has been glossed over in the Tribunal's
After the Tadic verdicts, LM editor Mick Hume said:
'The true story of Opacic's evidence to the Tadic trial confirms
how ITN's award-winning pictures from Trnopolje fooled the world.
It provides powerful justification of LM's case in our libel battle with ITN.
'Behind all of the emotive language and images employed at the
International War Crimes Tribunal, one fact has been forgotten.
There is a clear difference between a camp like Trnopolje, however
grim, and a real concentration camp like Belsen or Auschwitz.
Those who try to compare the two run the risk of rewriting history,
by trivialising the Nazi genocide against the Jews.'