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22 June 2015

Analysis: Accusations of Repeated Rape at Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic Trial

Albina Sorguč BIRN BiH Sarajevo

After a trial that has lasted nine months, the Bosnian state court will hand down a verdict in the case of Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic on June 24. The defendants, both former members of the Bosnian Serb Army, have been charged with raping a 14 year old in Kotor Varos.

The Bosnian state prosecution and the legal representative of the injured party proposed that the court pronounce the defendants guilty and provide 40,000 KM in compensation to the injured party for her sustained pain, fear and reduced physical capacity (calculated at 12 percent).

The defense has called for an acquittal, and believe that the injured party, known as S-4 at the trial, was raped by Predrag Cicmanovic.

Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic have been charged with raping S-4 several times on June 28, 1992. They allegedly forced S-4 to perform oral sex after having raped her. Predrag Cicmanovic, who died in 1995, allegedly participated in the rape.

According to the indictment, Cicmanovic took S-4 into a vehicle and raped her as the vehicle was moving. The state prosecution believes she cried and screamed as Cicmanovic put a knife under her throat and one of the defendants put a gun to her forehead.

“The vehicle stopped near the bus station, after which Bosljko and Ostoja Markovic, along with Predrag Cicmanovic, repeatedly raped S-4 in a minivan in the vicinity of a bus station in the village of Dabovci,” reads the indictment.

The indictment alleges that Mirko Bozic, who was driving the minivan, left the vehicle while it was parked in the vicinity of the bus station.

The state prosecution attempted to prove the guilt of the defendants, who defended themselves at liberty, by examining eight witnesses and presenting material evidence. The defense interrogated four witnesses and presented several pieces of material evidence.

Injured Party Separated From Her Family

S-4’s testimony was closed to the public, however her mother and brother said a Serb soldier lined their family up in front of a house. S-4 was taken to the minivan, which was parked on the road.

“When he tore her away from my hand, he fired a burst of gunfire into the air,” S-4’s mother said. She said she saw injuries on her daughter’s body later on. She told her she’d been raped, and that four soldiers were in the minivan.

S-4’s brother said Predrag Cicmanovic, also known as Pedja, took his sister away. He said he saw her the next morning, when his mother told him she’d been raped.

Milorad Kalamanda, the former intelligence affairs officer with the 122nd Infantry Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, said Communications Officer Zdravko Pejic informed him that rapes had happened and mentioned the names of three people involved: Cicmanovic, Markovic, Bozic.

Mirko Simonjic, an investigator with the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), said at the trial that SIPA was recording conversations between the defendants, as well as with other persons.

“Maybe it wasn’t that know…,” one of the defendants said in a conversation recorded by SIPA on October 26, 2013.

“It’s Pedja’s [Predrag Cicmanovic] fault, she was fourteen years old,” Bosiljko Markovic told his brother in another conversation recorded on October 29, 2013.

Simonjic said SIPA also intercepted a conversation the defendants had with Mirko Bozic. He said Bozic had said he’d been keeping silent about something for twenty years.

“Through the telephone conversations, we arrived at information that Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic made arrangements with Mirko Bozic regarding their testimony,” Simonjic said.

Mirko Bozic said he was in the minivan with Ostoja and Bosiljko Markovic, while Predrag Cicmanovic raped S-4.

“We waited for Pedja [Predrag Cicmanovic] for five minutes, and then he came back, probably with the injured party and said, ‘This is mine.’ He told me to drive...apparently, he raped her there on the floor of the minivan,” Bozic said.

According to Bozic, he drove to Dabovci, where Cicmanovic ordered him to stop and get out of the vehicle. He said he couldn’t remember whether the rape was over when he exited the minivan.

“After a few minutes, I also saw Bosiljko outside, but I can’t say whether Ostoja was outside too, because there were other soldiers there,” Bozic said.

Witness Says He Was Invited to Rape Injured Party

The state prosecution presented several video and audio recordings and intercepted telephone conversations, which Bozic said referred to conversations about money the defendants owed him, and not payment for testifying in their favour.

Testifying in favour of the defense, Ilija Raljic, a former member of Kotor Varos Unit of the Bosnian Serb Army, said he was standing guard at a bus station when he witnessed the rape of S-4 in the minivan.

“The minivan stopped, Ostoja and Bosiljko came out. Pedja [Predrag Cicmanovic] stayed inside with that girl. Pedja called me to come to him. Pedja said, ‘Ilija, do you want to rape?’” Raljic said.

Raljic specified it was Cicmanovic who asked him whether he wanted to participate in the rape. He said he turned around and walked away.

Defense witness Luka Naric provided an alibi for Bosiljko Markovic, by stating that on June 28, 1992, Markovic was with his sister all night. Naric said Markovic and his sister were in a romantic relationship. Naric said Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic came to his house in the settlement of Vrbanjci in the municipality of Kotor Varos. He said they were in military uniforms and armed.

“Ostoja left earlier with the army, while Bosiljko stayed behind with my sister. My sister and Bosiljko went behind the house, in the part where my mother lived,” Naric said.

Naric said he saw Bosiljko Markovic the next morning at the station. When he asked Markovic why he hadn’t left with the other soldiers from the settlement, he said he’d overslept. Naric concluded that Markovic had been with his sister the previous night.

Two experts presented findings regarding S-4’s health and said they believed her overall health had decreased by 12 per cent because of the rape.

“She isn’t sure whether there were three or four perpetrators. She’s sure that there were more than two,” neuropsychiatrist Alma Bravo-Mehmedbasic said.

Nedza Sehic, S-4’s legal representative, proposed that the court have the defendants pay 40,000 KM in compensation for her sustained physical and mental pain, suffering, fear and reduced health.

“There is no adequate compensation for what was committed to the injured party with this criminal offense, there isn’t even an approximate price for her ruined dreams, her stunted youth and her life, which has been destroyed forever,” Sehic said.

Sehic said in the event of a litigation process S-4’s identity would have to be revealed, and proposed that the state court hand down a decision on compensation of non-material damages.

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