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13 November 2012
News

Basic and Sijak: Collateral Damage

BIRN BiH
Testifying in his defence, indictee Mirsad Sijak says that, after having been wounded in his lower limbs and genitals in January 1994, he underwent a medical treatment for one month, adding that he is a collateral damage in this case and that he does not know why injured party A accused him of rape.

Mirsad Sijak and Muhidin Basic, who were allegedly accompanied by two unknown soldiers, are charged with having forced a Croat female to have sexual intercourse with them in a prison located in the basement of the Sumarstvo building in Vares on January 25, 1994. 

Sijak said that he was wounded on January 5, 1994 and that he spent three days at a hospital. He said that he then underwent a medical treatment that lasted for a month, adding that shrapnel pieces were taken out of his body in the evening of January 24. 

“I could not even have sexual intercourse with my wife. I got divorced due to this thing,” the indictee said, adding that he still had some shrapnel pieces in his legs. 

When asked by Trial Chamber Chairwoman Mira Smajlovic why, according to witness Bakira Hasecic, the first indictee linked him to the rape, he was not able to respond, saying that they should ask indictee Basic about it.

Responding to questions about why injured party A linked him to the rape, he said that he is “the only one she knew”. 

Sijak said that he knew witness A and that he had met her recently. 

“She was approaching me and laughing. My friends told me: ‘Here comes your baby’. I wonder where she found the courage to laugh. In all this, I am just collateral damage,” indictee Sijak said. 

He said that, on January 25, 1994 he went to a meeting in Kakanj, at which a handover of Corps functions was conducted, adding that he stayed there the whole day. 

Indictee Mirsad Sijak’s wartime diary, containing all important dates, including the dates of his wounding, medical treatment and meeting in Kakanj, was included as material evidence by his Defence. 

Also, the Defence included a wounding certificate for the indictee as evidence. 

The Defence of the first indictee completed the presentation of evidence by presenting material evidence, including information from Vares municipality of December 1993 concerning ABiH’s responsibility for imprisoned members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO. Also, it included a note by the Public Safety Service of January 1994 about the work of Olovo Assembly. 

“With this piece of evidence we would like to prove that person A could have objected the security in the town, given the fact that she was a delegate in the Assembly,” said Kerim Celik, Defence attorney of indictee Muhidin Basic.

The Defence presented a decision on the retirement of witness A as evidence, saying that she “received a pension on the basis of falsified documents”.

The next hearing is due to be held on November 19, 2012 with the examination of additional witnesses of the Prosecution and Trial Chamber, which will invite the injured party to testify again. 
                                                                                                                                                              M.B.

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