Jezik / Language:
14 January 2011

Gajic: State Prosecution Files Custody Extension Motion


The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has asked the State Court to extend custody of Pavle Gajic, who is charged with crimes against prisoners of war committed in the Bihac area, but the Defence objects to the motion.

The extension of custody for Gajic has been requested due to concern that the indictee might influence witnesses while at liberty. The indictee's Defence said this concern was not justified and asked that the Court order prohibiting measures instead of custody.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will render its decision at a later stage.

Gajic, former member of the Orlovi Grmeca (Grmec Eagles) Reconnaissance Squad with the Second Krajina Corps of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, is charged with having killed a prisoner - a member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH- using a bayonet, in Sokolac village, Bihac municipality on November 24, 1994.

Explaining the reasons for the custody motion, State Prosecutor Dragan Corlija said that the indictee influenced witness Marinko Markanovic during the course of the investigation by “calling him several times and meeting with him”.

“The indictee told the witness at that time to stick to the statement he had given earlier. In addition, some persons, whose numbers were hidden, called Markanovic on his cell phone and told him to say he could not remember anything, he had not seen anything and he did not dare say anything against the Squad,” Corlija said.

The Prosecutor said that Mile Susljik and Rajko Gataric put pressure on witness Mico Rakic as well.

According to the Prosecutor, Susljik was Commander of the Orlovi Grmeca Squad, while Gataric was his Deputy.

Nenad Balaban, Gajic's Defence attorney, said he did not consider his client's conversation with Markanovic “as threats or influence on the witness”.

“The Prosecutor examined the witnesses three times until they told him what he wanted to know, He posed capricious questions to them. As far as the high-ranking officers, whose names I do not want to mention, are concerned, if they influenced the witnesses, they did it out of fear of being criminally prosecuted. My client cannot influence the high-ranking officers' actions,” Balaban said.

The Defence attorney suggested that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina replace the custody measure with any type of prohibiting measures, because, as he said, Gajic's wife and two children were punished by his stay in custody more than anyone else, because he “provided for them by working as a woodworker”.

The State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, arrested Gajic in Ribnik, near Kljuc, on December 28 last year. He has been held in custody since.


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