Jezik / Language:
20 August 2007

Andrun Appeals Proceedings Begin

Parties set outgrounds for appealing verdict against Nikola Andrun, sentenced to 13 years forcrimes in the HVO-run Gabela detention camp.
Prosecutors anddefence lawyers have appeared before the Appeals Chamber of the Court of Bosniaand Herzegovina to set out their reasons for challenging the verdict handeddown by the Court in December 2006 to Nikola Andrun, which saw him jailed for13 years for crimes against civilians in the Gabela detention camp in 1993.

Prosecutors sayAndrun was deputy commander of the camp, which was set up near Capljina by theCroatian Defence Council (HVO), and they want the appeals judges to overturnthe Trial Chamber’s finding that Andrun was not guilty of some of the chargesincluded in the indictment against him. Andrun’s defence lawyers, on the otherhand, say their client did not hold a senior position at the facility and areseeking a shorter sentence.
The Prosecutionargues that Andrun’s trial involved procedural violations and that the“controversial” verdict was based on evidence that was in fact legallyinadmissible. Prosecutor Vesna Tancica has expressed particular concern about avisit to the site of the detention camp by judges and the accused, which shesays gave Andrun a chance to “comment on the witnesses’ statements and topresent his closing arguments outside the courtroom”.
Defence attorneyHamdo Kulenovic has repeated the claim that his client was merely a guard atthe camp and that his behaviour there was dictated by orders given to him bythe camp manager and HVO soldiers. He admits that Andrun moved prisoners aroundthe camp but says he was opposed to their maltreatment and only acted as he didbecause to do otherwise would have been to put himself in danger.
Kulenovic hascalled the case against his client “an attempt to transfer the responsibilityfrom detention camp manager Bosko Previsic, who is currently unavailable, tothe defendant”.

Andrun himself has said that he believes the proceedings against him arepolitically motivated, claiming, “I know who set this up for me”. He has alsoalleged that Bosniak witnesses who testified in his favour in the trial werelater threatened.
In extreme cases,the Appeals Chamber has the power to completely overturn the findings of atrial and order fresh proceedings.
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