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1 October 2015
News

Supreme Court Hears Appeals on Ilija Pavic Verdict

Marija Taušan BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The prosecution called upon the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase the length of Ilija Pavic’s prison sentence. Pavic was sentenced to three years in prison for war crimes committed in Livno. His defense has called for an acquittal.

On February 10, 2015, the cantonal court of Livno found Pavic, a former member of the military police with the Second Battalion of the Croatian Defense Council, guilty of having killed Serb civilian Milorad Crncevic during a raid conducted on the night of August 8 or 9, 1992.

The first instance court also determined that Pavic and two soldiers (both deceased), entered Draginja Rosic’s house. After Milorad Crncevic had left the house, Pavic told him to stop several times and then shot Rosic in the groin. Rosic died soon after having been shot.

The Court in Livno handed down the same verdict in December 2013, but the Supreme Court repealed it a year later.

The prosecution and defense proposed that the first instance verdict be repealed and that a new trial held.

Federal prosecutor Munib Halilovic supported an appeal filed by the Livno cantonal prosecution. The appeal was filed due to perceived violations of the proceedings, errors of fact and the duration of the sentence.

“If the court finds out that the factual status was correctly determined, we consider the sentence too short and mitigating circumstances overrated,” Halilovic said.

He said he didn’t deny the existence of mitigating circumstances, as well as the significant contribution made by the defendant and his admissions of guilt to revealing the truth about the crime.

“We consider this a war crime and the pronounced sentence should not be shorter than the minimum sentence prescribed by the law,” Halilovic said.

Halilovic’s defense attorney, Josip Muselimovic, said he didn’t consider his client’s case a war crimes case.

“The defendant didn’t know the killed person. We can’t say it had anything to do with any type of discrimination...The case file does not contain evidence on inhumane treatment of any sort,” Muselimovic said.

Muselimovic proposed that the court acquit Pavic of the charges against him and reject the indictment, because the period of time specified under the statute of limitations had passed.

The court will render a decision concerning the appeals presented today at a later stage.

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