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15 March 2011
News

Gajic: Fall, Coma and Amnesia

BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has again postponed the beginning of Pavle Gajic's trial and ordered an additional psychiatric examination of the indictee in order to determine whether his statements about mental problems contain “elements of simulation”.

The State Prosecution charges Gajic, former member of the Orlovi Grmeca (Eagles of Grnec) Reconnaissance Squad with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, with having killed a captured member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, using a bayonet, in Sokolac village in November 1994.

The trial of Gajic was due to begin on February 28, but it was postponed at the request of the Defence. The Defence asked the Court to order a psychiatric examination by a court expert.

Trial Chamber Chairwoman Vesna Jesenkovic said that a team of experts examined the indictee, adding that the team of physicians determined that Gajic was mentally and physically fit to stand trial and actively participate in the proceedings, but the trial had not started yet because the indictee said that he “fell and suffered a loss of memory” in the Penal and Correctional Facility in Doboj on March 13.

“I fell down on Sunday. I was in a coma for four hours. I could not even remember my name. Now I know my name, because guards told me. I do not remember anything that has happened after my fall. I do not remember falling down, as I hit my head against the wall. I do not understand where I am now,” indictee Gajic said.

State Prosecutor Dragan Corlija said that it seemed to him that the indictee is “simulating”, adding that the indictee looked brighter than him.

Following the indictee's claims of memory loss, the Trial Chamber took a short break, during which it contacted the Doboj Facility.

“We contacted the Facility and two persons confirmed that you had banged your head against the wall by yourself, so they called an ambulance. They said that a physician determined that you had no injuries and did not loose memory or fall into a coma. Considering the fact that the competent Facility staff members did not think the event was of importance, they did not inform us of it,” Jesenkovic said.

Jesenkovic asked the indictee once again if he was capable of following the trial, and he said he was not. The Trial Chamber then decided that an additional examination would be conducted in order for physicians to determine whether Gajic's behaviour contained elements of simulation.

Gajic was arrested in December last year. He has been held in custody since then.

The next hearing is due to take place on March 23. The medical examination of the indictee will be conducted in the meantime.

 

A.S.

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