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25 February 2016
News

Defense Requests Repeal or Acquittal of Stricevic Verdict

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The defense of Slavko Stricevic asked the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to either acquit him or repeal the first instance verdict against him. Under the initial verdict, Stricevic was sentenced to ten years in prison for crimes committed in Bosanski Petrovac.The state prosecution asked the court to confirm the first instance verdict.
The defense requested that the verdict be revoked and a retrial held. It also proposed that a shorter sentence be handed down if the court found the defendant guilty.

In November 2015, the cantonal court of Bihac sentenced Slavko Stricevic to ten years in prison for crimes committed in the Bosanski Petrovac area in 1992. Stricevic, a former member of reserve forces with the Republika Srpska police, was found guilty of the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and the murder of two prisoners of war.

Defense attorney Jovo Pilipovic said the court hadn’t offered valid reasons with regards to the existence of an armed conflict between the Bosnian Army (ABiH) and the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS).

“The first instance verdict states that an armed conflict existed in Bosanski Petrovac during that period, although only a state of emergency had been declared at that time. Witness Selimovic confirmed this during his testimony. He explicitly said he did not notice sentries, checkpoints or VRS personnel anywhere,” Pilipovic said.

In his appeal, Pilipovic also said the first instance chamber hadn’t determined the status of prisoners of war, as they didn’t have markings on their clothing. Pilipovic said Stricevic’s awareness of the status of the captives also hadn’t been determined, as he arrived two hours after their departure.

State prosecutor Munib Halilovic said he stuck by his response to an appeal filed by the cantonal prosecution in Bihac, which he described as “well-argued and founded.”

“I propose that the defense’s appeal be rejected as unfounded and the first instance verdict pronounced by the cantonal court of Bihac confirmed,” Halilovic said.

The Supreme Court will render a decision at a later stage.
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