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3 March 2015
News

Former General Sefer Halilovic Testifies in Vintila’s Defense

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Testifying at the trial of Iulian-Nicolae Vintila and Ramiz Avdovic, former Bosnian Army General Sefer Halilovic said he hadn’t heard that crimes were committed at the Viktor Bubanj army barracks.
Iulian-Nicolae Vintila and Ramiz Avdovic have been charged with the abuse of prisoners held at the Viktor Bubanj Army barracks in 1992. The prosecution believes that Avdovic was commander of the guards in Viktor Bubanj at the time, while Vintila was a cook and a guard.
 
Testifying in defense of Vintila, Halilovic said he was the commander of the Territorial Defence as of May 25, 1992.
 
“There are a few examples throughout history of the situation in which Sarajevo found itself. For instance Leningrad. Sarajevo was under siege up until the Dayton Peace Accord was signed,” said Halilovic.
 
According to Halilovic, at that time many informal groups tried to defend the city. He said that building real command and military structures took time and effort.

Halilovic said that dubious military police units existed, and that some even detained him and asked him for his documents. He also said that his wife was once slapped by a member of such units.
 
Halilovic confirmed that in May 1992, all citizens were ordered to register with the Territorial Defence and to hand over their weapons. Under the same order, looting and the destruction of property was strictly forbidden.

When asked by attorney Vlado Adamovic whether military police commander Kerim Lucarevic was responsible for implementing this order, Halilovic said that the position of the military police commander did not exist.
 
Vintila’s defense presented Halilovic with several documents which he allegedly signed, but he could not confirm his signature. In one of those documents, Lucarevic is listed as commander of the military police and in other places Besim Muderizovic was listed as a prison warden.
 
“The Defense Ministry was in charge of the military detention site,” said Halilovic.

Halilovic testified in the presence of his legal counsel Edina Residovic, and refused to answer questions about subordination and the command structure.
 
When asked whether he knew of crimes committed at the Viktor Bubanj army barracks, Halilovic said he would have reacted if he did.
 
“I might have stopped for coffee there, but I do not recall visiting the detention site,” said Halilovic.
 
Besim Muderizovic was also indicted in this case, but died before the end of the trial.
 
The trial will continue on March 17.

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