Jezik / Language:
13 December 2012

Kuvelja: Srebrenica Genocide Verdict Due in January

The Bosnian State Court will deliver its verdict in the case of Bozidar Kuvelja, charged with taking part in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, on January 11 next year.
Kuvelja’s defence has asked in its closing argument that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina acquit him of charges of crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The Bosnian Prosecution previously asked for Kuvelja to be sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Kuvelija’s lawyer, Kerim Celik, said that his closing argument did not mean to diminish the tragedy which happened in Srebrenica in 1995. He pointed out that Kuvelja, back in January last year, before the indictment was issued, partially admitted to some claims by the prosecution.

“You have to have in mind that he is not a lawyer and he did it out of compassion for the victims, expressing remorse,” said Celik.

He added that the defendant was arrested as a deserter and brought to Bijeljina in 1995, where he was attached to the Jahorina Training Centre with the Special Police Brigade of Republika Srpska.

“He did not know about the plan or action, nor was he aware of the genocidal intent. He was forced to carry out orders from his superiors,” said the lawyer.

Kuvelja is charged with taking part in the search of a Srebrenica neghbourhood on July 12, 1995, aimed at gathering Bosniaks to Potocari, as well as with separation of men from women and taking those men to “Bijela kuca” [White House], where they were imprisoned and abused.

The indictment specifies that Kuvelja, together with other members of the Jahorina Training Centre, took part in the execution of over 1,000 imprisoned Bosnak men on July 13, 1995.

Celik emphasised that the prosecution incorrectly identified the defendant as the person nicknamed “Hercegovac”.

“The witness KB-101 said that the civilians were being separated by Hercegovac, not linking him with the defendant,” said Celik.

He added that if the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina determined Kuvelja was guilty after all, it should, when passing the sentence, take into account the extenuating circumstances such as sincere regret and decent behaviour during trial.
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