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9 February 2015
News

Witness at Goran Saric Trial Requests Legal Counselor

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The trial of Goran Saric has been postponed, due to a request by prosecution witness Petar Mitrovic to be assigned a legal counselor before giving testimony.

“Considering the fact that the witness would like to testify in the presence of a legal counselor, the court will postpone this hearing,” said judge and trial chamber chairman Stanisa Gluhajic.

Mitrovic is currently serving twenty years in prison for his role in the Srebrenica genocide in 1995. He confirmed that his defense attorneys had filed an appeal against his conviction with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prior to today’s request, Saric’s defense had also proposed that Mitrovic be examined in presence of a legal counselor.

Defense attorney Aleksadar Lazarevic said that Mitrovic had incriminated himself while giving a statement, without an attorney present, during the investigation phase of the case.

“I am talking about his comprehension level, he can incriminate himself while answering certain questions,” Lazarevic said.

The state prosecution objected to Lazarevic’s proposal to have Mitrovic testify in the presence of a legal counselor.

Mitrovic, a former member of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police, was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment in 2009. Mitrovic was found guilty of participating in the killing of approximately 1000 men at an agricultural cooperative in Kravica, Bratunac. The Constitutional Court rescinded the verdict due to a wrong application of law.

Following a retrial with the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina last year, Mitrovic's sentence was reduced from 28 years of imprisonment to 20.

Mitrovic is expected to testify against Saric , who has been charged with commanding police forces who participated in the search, disarmament, and forcible relocation of women, children and the elderly in Srebrenica.

Saric is also charged with detaining men and boys, who were executed in the Srebrenica area later on. He allegedly ordered police officers to guard the road between Bratunac and Konjevic Polje and capture the men and boys , who were trying to leave the Srebrenica protected zone through the woods.

The trial is scheduled to continue on February 16.

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