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12 January 2016
News

Vintila Defense Presents Closing Statement, Verdict of Release Requested

Dragana Erjavec BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Presenting its closing statement, Iulian-Nicolae Vintila’s defense said the state prosecution had not offered any evidence which indicated the defendant was guilty and called for an acquittal. Vintila and the other defendant in the trial, Ramiz Avdovic, have been accused of committing war crimes in Sarajevo.

Ramiz Avdovic and Iulian-Nicolae Vintila have been charged with war crimes committed against Serb civilians at the Viktor Bubanj military barracks and on the fifth floor of the district prison in Sarajevo. The prosecution alleges that the civilian prisoners held in those facilities were subjected to torture and abuse, and were also ordered to perform forced labour.

The indictment alleges that Avdovic was the guard commander on the fifth floor of the district prison in Sarajevo and at the former Viktor Bubanj military barracks,

while Vintila was a cook and guard in the barracks.

Emir Kapidzic, Vintila’s defense attorney, said the state prosecution had not proven that his client’s alleged crimes were associated with the Bosnian war and armed conflict while presenting its evidence.

Kapidzic said the state prosecution had failed to present any documentation which confirmed that Vintila was a member of the military police, as alleged in the indictment.

“The material evidence presented by the prosecution indicate that Vintila was a member of the Territorial Defense of the Bosnian Army and that he was a cook. We have not seen any pieces of evidence indicating he was a guard and when,” Kapidzic said.

Kapidzic said the injured parties were detainees who were deprived of their liberty on suspicion of having committed crimes. He said the proceedings against them were conducted before a legitimate court martial.

Kapidzic said that in his function, Vintila couldn’t have had any insight on the detainees. He said the state prosecution had failed to prove so as well.

“My client definitively had no information on whether those persons were civilians or military personnel or what their ethnicity was. He didn’t have access to them. He had no lists or findings on the status of the detained persons for whom he cooked,” Kapidzic said.

Kapidzic commented on testimony given by prosecution witnesses, including injured parties who identified Vintila as one of the guards who beat them. Kapidzic said there were contradictions between their testimonies and suggested that the detainees could have been mistaken about the identity of the guard who beat them.

“On the other hand, there are prosecution witnesses who said that Vintila was a cook and they didn’t hear that he beat anyone. On the basis of testimony given by all the witnesses one can clearly determine that identities could have been mixed up, so we can’t say it has been proven that Vintila committed the crime charged upon him,” Kapidzic said.

The defense will continue presenting evidence on January 19.

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