Jezik / Language:
17 October 2008

Bozic et al: "Weak" indictment

The defence of the four accused for crimes against civilians in Srebrenica has started reading their final statement.
During the closing statement, the Defence for Zdravko Bozic pointed out the expectation from the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to accept their arguments and clear him from accusations placed upon him by the State Prosecution.

"The Prosecution requested immunity for several witnesses due to awareness of the weak indictment which will not be possible to prove, as it was shown during the trial," defence attorney Dragica Glusac said.

According to the Defence, the Prosecution gave immunity to persons who were together with the indictee, members of the military police of the Bratunac battalion of the Republika Srpska army (VRS)" to protect them from criminal prosecution".

Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, are indicted by the Prosecution for participating in a bus escort in which people from Srebrenica were transferred toa school in Bratunac where they were mistreated physically and psychologically as well as murdered.

Detainees from the Bratunac School, according to indictment, were transferred to a school in Orahovac in Zvornik municipality, where most of them were murdered.

The Prosecution has asked for 35 years in prison for Bozic.

"Witness PW1, to whom immunity was granted, did not give a true statement. He said that he saw me when four or five prisoners were murdered but other witnesses confirmed that this is not true," said Bozic, to the Court Council.

He pointed out that on July 14 1995, "He was not in front of school in Bratunac" because he was on duty at the headquarters of the Bratunac battalion and some of the witnesses confirmed that as well as the duty log book.

"None of the witnesses claimed that I participated in guarding the school. I have not imprisoned anybody,ordered anything or assisted somebody to commit a crime. I don’t know what is the foundation for my indictment," said Bozic.

He apologised to "all victims of unfortunate war", claiming that he did not contribute to their suffering by his actions.

Defence lawyer Glusac focused on Prosecution claims that the indictees were acting as accomplices or participants in a common criminal act.

"Accomplishing is either there or not. It cannot be added on or combined with a common criminal act which has no legal foundation in our criminal law," said Glusac.

With closing statements started, the Defence of second indictee, Mladen Blagojevic emphasised that the indictment against defendee is "contradictory, incoherent with no precise definition of criminal act".

"The statement that the indicteeis responsible for the action of the third party is inadmissible because none of these four has commanding responsibility. They were just members of the military police of the Bratunac battalion," said defence lawyer, Miroslav Ristic.

He reflected on the statements of the four protected witnesses who gained immunity from the Prosecution stating that against one of them criminal charges are raised following a false testimony.

"The Prosecution granted immunity to witnesses from criminal prosecution for their role in the war but immunity was not granted for false testimony. However the Prosecution never acted upon criminal charges nor informed the Defence that they have no elements for prosecution," said Ristic.

A follow up of the Defence's closing statement for the secondary indictee will be on October 20.
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