Former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader complained before the Zagreb County Court on Thursday that he was denied his rights after presiding judge Ivan Turudic interrupted him several times in his attempts to comment on the charges of war profiteering and bribe taking.
"Everything you have said is already part of the court file and there is no need for you to repeat it," Turudic said after Sanader asserted that the charge that he had received bribes from the chief executive officer of the Hungarian oil company MOL, Zsolt Hernadi, was based on the fabrication by one person and started to explain relations between the Croatian oil company INA and MOL.
When Sanader asked for permission to put a question to the panel of judges, Turudic told him that he was not in court to ask questions but to answer them.
"You are simply in such a position," the judge said.
"But I am being denied my rights," the former prime minister replied, stressing that he respected the court, but wanted to respond to the prosecution's allegations.
After a brief consultation with his attorneys, Sanader said there was no need for him to address the court at this point and that the situation was much clearer to him now.
The defence and the prosecution were then called to explain the evidence they would present at the trial. Since the defence asked to present their evidence at the next hearing, only the prosecution will present theirs today.
The prosecutor dismissed claims by the defence that the prosecution was selective in the choice of witnesses.
"Both indictments have been confirmed by the court and both are legally valid. As for the complaint about failure to question Zsolt Hernadi, he is under investigation," prosecutor Tamara Laptos said.
Laptos recalled that MOL CEO Hernadi, who had allegedly given Sanader 10 million euros in bribes, could not be indicted because he had not been questioned given that the Hungarian authorities had rejected such a request from Croatian prosecutors. She, however, stressed that Hernadi was still a suspect in the case.
Laptos earlier asked the court to admit as evidence a video recording of a meeting in a Zagreb restaurant of Sanader, Hernadi and Robert Jezic, through whose companies a portion of the bribe had allegedly been paid to Sanader. The defence objected to it, saying that such evidence was obtained illegally. The motion will be decided by the judges.