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28 April 2015
News

Court Experts Present Findings on Rape Victim’s Mental Health

Albina Sorguc BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Testifying at the trial of Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic, a team of experts determined that the injured party’s ability to live a normal life was reduced by 12 percent.
The state prosecution has charged the defendants, both former members of the Kotor-Varos Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, with the rape of a fourteen year old girl, known as S-4, in the municipality of Kotor-Varos on June 28, 1992.

The indictment alleges that the defendants and another person raped the victim in a moving minivan.

Upon a request by the state prosecution, neuropsychiatrist Alma Bravo-Mehmedbasic and psychologist Senadin Fadilpasic presented their findings on S-4’s mental health.

The court experts determined that S-4 demonstrated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, but was capable of testifying before the court.

Bravo-Mehmedbasic said S-4 had previously had PTSD, and still demonstrates some symptoms of the disorder. She said S-4 doesn’t demonstrate fully-blown PTSD and that due to the support of her family, she has managed to keep her PTSD under control.

S-4’s mental health evaluation was conducted on the basis of a physical exam and medical documentation, which the prosecution submitted to Bravo-Mehmedbasic and Fadilpasic.

“She isn’t sure whether there were three or four perpetrators. She is sure there were more than two,” Bravo-Mehmedbasic said.

Nedzla Sehic, S-4’s authorized legal representative, attended the presentation of the court experts’ findings. Sehic said their findings would be used as evidence for a property and legal claim previously filed with the trial chamber.

“I stick to my proposal to discuss the property and legal claim before this chamber. The property and legal claim has emerged from the crime,” Sehic said.

Sehic asked Bravo-Mehmedbasic how the rape had affected S-4’s development and growth. Bravo-Mehmedbasic said that S-4 suffered enormous fear for a few hours after her rape, which had long-term effects on her mental health.

“Her concentration has been mildly damaged, as well as her memory. S-4 said she left school in the first grade of secondary school, because she could not concentrate,” Bravo-Mehmedbasic said. She said the team of experts involved in evaluating her mental health concluded that her ability to live a normal life had been reduced by 12 percent.

“We considered her statement authentic. We did not get the impression that she was making it up. She doesn’t know whether there were three or four perpetrators,” Bravo–Mehmedbasic said in response to questions by Ostoja Markovic’s defense attorney.

The trial’s presentation of evidence ended with Bravo-Mehmedbasic and Fadilpasic’s findings. The state prosecution will present its closing statement on May 12.
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