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5 June 2013
News

Defence Requests Acquittal or Shorter Imprisonment

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Presenting its appeal against a verdict under which Bosko Lazic was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for giving false testimony, the Defence requests the Court to either acquit the indictee or pronounce shorter imprisonment sentence.

Stanko Petrovic, Defence attorney of the indictee, filed the appeal with the third instance Chamber of the Appellate Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to a wrongly and incompletely determined factual status and violations of the criminal proceedings. He pointed out that the indictee explained, during his testimony, that he had given the statement out of fear.

“I consider that, due to existence of the fear, there is no crime in this case. I therefore propose that the indictee be acquitted of charges,” Petrovic said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina proposed that the Defence attorney's appeal be rejected as unfounded.

Lazic is charged with having mentioned Zoran Zivanovic as a war-crime perpetrator, while giving a statement to State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, investigators in a war-crime case. After that, he repeated the allegation when giving another statement to the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During his testimony before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina it was determined that he had given a false testimony, which caused severe consequences for indictee Zivanovic, who was held in detention during the court proceedings. At the end of the process against him Zivanovic was acquitted of all charges.

In June 2012 a first instance verdict was pronounced, acquitting Lazic of the charges for giving a false testimony due to a lack of evidence. However the Appellate Chamber revoked the verdict and ordered a retrial. Following the retrial, Lazic was sentenced to fifteen months in prison.

Defence attorney Petrovic said that, while giving his statement, in addition to Zoran Zivanovic, the indictee mentioned several people, who were present in Potocari.

“If the mentioned statement accused Zivanovic, it then also accused all the others,” Petrovic said.

He said that the imprisonment sentence against Lazic pronounced by the Appellate Chamber was “too long”, proposing to the Court to pronounce a shorter imprisonment sentence in case the third instance Chamber finds him guilty.

A decision concerning the appeal will be rendered at a later stage.
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