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15 May 2009

Hodzic: Verdict Due on June 26

The Trial Chamber, sitting in the case of Ferid Hodzic, sets preliminary dates for the presentation of closing arguments and verdict.

At the trial for crimes committed in the Cerska area, in Vlasenica Municipality, during the course of the war, the Trial Chamber has announced that evidence presentation will be completed at the next hearing; the State Prosecution and Defence will then present their closing arguments. The verdict will be pronounced on June 26.

The trial of Ferid Hodzic, former Commander of the Territorial Defence, TD, in Vlasenica, began in March 2008.

Hodzic is charged with participation in the detention and mental and physical abuse of Serb civilians and prisoners of war committed in "Stala" prison in Rovasi hamlet, Vlasenica Municipality.

At this hearing Defence expert witness Zlatko Dugandzic, a graphologist, was examined. He told the Court that he had not managed to conduct an analysis of the disputed signature "contained in ten disputed orders issued by the wartime Presidency of Vlasenica", containing the name of Bego Uvalic.

Uvalic was examined as a Prosecution witness at the hearing held on April 24, 2009, when he said that indictee Hodzic was President of the wartime Presidency. The Defence presented Uvalic with a few decisions issued by the Presidency, allegedly signed by him, but Uvalic denied that the decisions were signed by him.

The Defence then asked that a graphologist examine the documents in order to determine whether they contained Uvalic's signature. However, at this hearing Dugandzic explained that he could not undertake the examination due to the "inadequacy of non-disputed documents".

"The timespan between the writing of the disputed documents and the non-disputed Uvalic signature is 15 to 17 years. I need to look at a document that was written approximately at the same time as those documents or to have one of the documents be declared as non-disputed. My job is now done as all ten signatures are identical," Dugandzic explained.

Trial Chamber Chairman Tihomir Lukez said that Uvalic had already been asked to submit a document signed in 1994. After that the court expert will complete its findings and present it to the Court at the next hearing, due on May 29.






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