Jezik / Language:
11 June 2013

Witness Capable of Testifying

Selma Učanbarlić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of former members of the Croatian Defence Forces, HOS, a court expert in neuro-psychiatry says that Toni Raic is capable of testifying before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Psychiatrist Omer Cemalovic said that witness Raic had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, but he was capable of understanding questions and giving answers.

“In his case there is no single element suggesting that he is not able to testify at a trial. I gave him a few weeks to prepare himself for all this,” court expert Cemalovic said.

Raic began testifying for the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 2, but the hearing was adjourned due to health reasons. The Trial Chamber ordered an expert examination of the witness. At that hearing Raic said that he suffered from PTSD and that he felt pressure due to the testimony.

“The fact that he feels that his family might be jeopardized if he testified at the trial is the key problem here,” Cemalovic said.

Ivan Zelenika, Srecko Herceg, Edib Buljubasic, Ivan Medic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic, former members of HOS, are charged with crimes in Dretelj.

The indictment alleges that Zelenika is former HOS officer, Herceg was Commander of Dretelj, Buljubasic was Deputy Commander of the military barracks in Dretelj, while Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic were guards. It further alleges that they participated in forcing detainees to perform hard labour and torturing them. Several people died due to the consequences of the abuse.

Second court expert Ibrahim Gavrankapetanovic presented his findings and opinion about witness Slavko Bojanic's health condition. He said that he had not examined Bojanic, but, on the basis of medical documentation, he would not recommend that the witness be brought to the Court.

“I consider that he should not testify. He has had several heart attacks. He has undergone medical treatment several times. There are documents confirming that,” the court expert said.

In view of witness Bojanic's health condition, Prosecutor Remzija Smailagic proposed that his statement be read in the courtroom. The Defence of the indictees objected, requesting a new expert examination of the witness. The Court accepted their request.

Indictee Buljubasic failed to appear before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the hearing was held anyway because the Trial Chamber had previously rendered a decision saying that the proceedings could continue in his absence.

The trial is due to continue on June 25.

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