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18 May 2015
News

Prosecution Requests Harsher Sentences For Former Bosnian Fighters in Krajina

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The Bosnian state prosecution called upon the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to order a longer sentence against Safet Kovacevic for war crimes committed in Bihac and Cazin, and to rescind the release of two other defendants. The defense teams claim the appeals are unfounded, and requested that the court reject the appeals.

According to the charges, Kovacevic, Begic and Anadolac beat prisoners with police batons, rifle butts, and also hit them and kicked them, while forcing them to sing “My Bosnia,” among other songs. This occurred while the prisoners were being transported, with the accompaniment of other members of the military police on March 11, 1995.

Begic was the commander of a squad with the Second Company of the Fifth Battalion of the military police, while the other defendants were military policemen.

Prosecutor Munib Halilovic requested that the court hand down a longer sentence against Kovacevic and quash the acquittals of Husein Begic and Muhamed Anadolac.

In July of last year the cantonal court in Bihac sentenced Kovacevic to 18 months in prison for mistreating prisoners of war in 1995, and acquitted Begic and Anadolac of the same charges.

Under the same verdict, Abid Ljubijankic and Sabahudin Hafuric were also acquitted. Since no appeal has been filed against their verdicts, they are now considered confirmed.

Kovacevic’s defense attorney Husein Music said the verdict handed down by the Bihac Cantonal Court was unlawful, and requested the acquittal of his client.

“Who did Kovacevic beat? Whose pain did he cause? We know for sure that there was an order and that my client was a subordinate. We are absolutely sure there was an order. We have evidence to prove it, but the court rejected it,” Husein Music said.

Kovacevic said he was only 19 at the time, and said he had orders he had to obey.

The defense attorneys of Begic and Anadolac proposed that the prosecution’s appeal be rejected and the verdict of acquittal confirmed.

“As far as Begic is concerned, the proceeding was conducted in a lawful manner and the conclusions were arrived at correctly,” defense attorney Hasan Velagic said.

The court will render a decision at a later stage.

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