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25 August 2009
News

Trbic: The Prosecution demands 45 years’ imprisonment

BIRN BiH
Presenting its closing arguments, the State Prosecution calls on the Court to sentence Milorad Trbic to a maximum long-term imprisonment.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which charged Milorad Trbic with genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, presented its closing arguments and called on the Court to admit, “as true, the fact that Trbic undertook forcible resettlement, murdered, buried and transferred bodies”, and sentence him to 45 years’ imprisonment.

“Despite the fact that the indictee is a family man, the Prosecution considers that there are no mitigating circumstances, because he has not done anything to help the people who suffer from war consequences since 1995. Sentencing him to 45 years’ imprisonment would be the only way to show the horrible image of this crime and confirm the international judgment of his actions,” Prosecutor Kwai Hong Ip explained.

Trbic, as former Assistant Commander for Security with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, who was responsible for the Military Police Squad, was charged with having “participated”, in collaboration with other members of the Army and Police of Republika Srpska, in “the execution of more than 7,000 men” from July to November 1995.  

The indictment alleges that he personally participated in the execution of Bosniak men in Srebrenica. It further alleges that he participated, between September and November 1995, in “designing a plan for concealing evidence of the crimes by reburying the corpses”. 

Prosecutor Ip particularly mentioned the statements given by Trbic, in his capacity as a suspect in the Hague Tribunal Detention Unit. In those statements Trbic allegedly admitted a part of the crime charged upon him. 

Trbic was originally indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY. In June 2007, at the request by the Hague Prosecution, he was transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina for further processing by the State Court. 

The trial began in November 2007.

“Milorad Trbic personally admitted having committed executions, which means that he committed crimes against Bosniaks from Srebrenica. While committing those crimes, he knew that his acts would lead to destruction of a group of people,” Prosecutor Ip said, adding that Trbic’s Defence never denied the statements given during the course of the investigation. 

Commenting on the eventual existence of a forethought for commiting of genocide by indictee Trbic, the Prosecutor explained that “the intention emanates from the consequences”. 

“We must review the importance of the crime for the group of people, who were destroyed, and its relation to the entire group. Now we are talking about the patriarchal relations and an unimaginable loss on the side of Bosniak families. The Court can determine, by looking at the indictee’s intentions, that he knew what the consequences of his acts would be,” Ip said.

Explaining the count charging Trbic with having worked as a duty officer at the advanced command place of the Zvornik Brigade between July 16 and 17, 1995, the Prosecutor insisted on “considering this as a key factor for proving his responsibility”. 

“In those days Trbic had a complete insight in what was going on, because those were the days when mass murders were committed. This duty gave him a broader insight in what was done and the massiveness of the crime. By coordinating the activities related to the transport of captured Bosniaks, as well as guarding and shooting those men and cleaning the area, he did all he could to help the execution of the plan,” the Prosecution concluded. 

At this hearing attorney Emin Halilcevic presented his closing arguments. He told the Trial Chamber that he represented 27 people, whose family members were killed in Srebrenica. He called on the Court to sentence Trbic to a maximum long-term imprisonment sentence. 

“I wanted to say that the injured parties, in this case, cannot be considered equal to injured parties in other cases. They survived additional frights and suffering, because they heard screaming, shooting and crying. All the crimes happened in front of their eyes,” Halilcevic said.

In February 2009 the State Prosecution informed the associations of victims from Srebrenica that they could file property and legal requests after the end of this trial. After having received a large number of requests, the Trial Chamber rendered a decision referring the injured parties to file legal suits irrespective of the final outcome of this trial. 

The next hearing is due to take place on August 31, when the Defence and the indictee will present their closing arguments.
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