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11 February 2014

Defence Demands Acquittal Over Bratunac Attacks

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Lawyers for ex-fighters Najdan Mladjenovic and Savo Zivkovic said the prosecution had not proved that they were guilty of attacking villages, killing civilians and torching houses in Bratunac in 1992.
In closing arguments in the trial in Sarajevo on Tuesday, Mladjenovic’s attorney, Dejan Bogdanovic, said that the state prosecution had not proved that his client was involved in a “wide-ranging and systematic attack” on non-Serbs, as the indictmemt alleges.

Bogdanovic said that the prosecution had also dropped a major part of the indictment, and that his client was now only charged with involvement in two deaths, not 67 as he was originally.

Mladjenovic and Zivkovic are accused of participating in attacks on the villages of Hranca and Glovoga in the Bratunac municipality in May 1992, when many non-Serb civilians were killed and their property looted and burned.

According to the charges, Mladjenovic was the commander of the Bosnian Serb Territorial Defence force in Bratunac and Zivkovic was member of the unit.

But the defence argued that these were isolated incidents, not part of a wider campaign of violent persecution.

“The time [Mladjenovic] is charged for is specific, those are two isolated days, May 3 and 9 in 1992,” said Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic pointed out differences in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, and said that Mladjenovic was charged for with issuing a command for the attacks, which none of the witnesses confirmed.

The defendant said meanwhile that the case had “left a huge mark on me and my family”.

Zivkovic’s lawyer said that his client was charged with burning a man’s house but the only proof was a statement from the alleged victim that was read out in court because the man is already dead, and that no other witnesses backed up the allegation.

Lawyer Nenad Rubez added that Zivkovic had endured “a hard life” since the trial started in 2012.

“He is a construction worker who could not work for the past two years, although no one in his family is working,” Rubez said.

The verdict is due on March 4.
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