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28 October 2014
News

Witness Needs a Legal Counsellor

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The examination of a witness, who was due to testify in defence of Iulian Nicolae Vintila, who is charged with crimes in Sarajevo, has been postponed in order to assign a legal counsellor to the witness. 
Kerim Lucarevic’s testimony was postponed, because the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, said that an investigation was conducted against this witness due to a suspicion that he committed war crimes. The Defence proposed that the witness testify in presence of a legal counsellor.
 
“This case was referred to another prosecutor for further processing. I do not know what is happening with the investigation now and whether a prosecutorial decision has been made or not,” Prosecutor Dzevad Muratbegovic said.
 
Vlado Adamovic, Defence attorney of indictee Vintila, said that the witness was mentioned in the indictment against Vintila and Ramiz Avdovic and that the only solution would be to postpone his examination in order to check what was happening with the investigation against the witness.
 
“The prosecutors simply divided one event. It is not possible to do that,” Adamovic said.
 
The State Prosecution’s indictment against Avdovic and Vintila alleges that Lucarevic, former Commander of military police of the Territorial Defence of the Republic of BiH, was a member of a joint criminal enterprise against Serb civilians in Sarajevo.
 
Under the same indictment, Avdovic and Vintila are charged with having participated, as members of a joint criminal enterprise, in the establishment and maintenance of a system for abuse of Serb civilians from late June to late November 1992. According to the charges, Avdovic was Commander of guards on the fifth floor of the District Prison in Sarajevo and former “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks, while Vintila was a cook and guard in the former barracks.
 
Defence attorney Adamovic said that he had found out that the Prosecution of BiH had filed an indictment against Fahrudin Alic, who too was mentioned in the indictment against Avdovic and Vintila.
 
“We should not be afraid of the situation. This has happened procedurally, but it can be solved. We can examine the witness in presence of a legal counselor, but I propose that we do not do it until we have checked what is happening with the case against Alic and the other investigation,” Adamovic said, adding that any other decision would be to the detriment of one of the indictees or suspects.
 
Alic, who lives in Belgium, is charged with having been involved in guarding the unlawfully detained Serb civilians on the fifth floor of the Central Prison in Sarajevo and military prison in former “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks from July to the end of October 1992.
 
The Trial Chamber ordered the State Prosecution to provide it with data about the investigations against Lucarevic and Alic, adding that Lucarevic would testify in the presence of a legal counsellor at a later stage. Also, the Chamber said that it would render a decision concerning these procedural issues at a later stage. 
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