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14 December 2009
News

Bastah et al: Notorious Operation to Remove Bosniaks

BIRN BiH
Presenting its closing arguments at the trial of Predrag Bastah and Goran Viskovic, the State Prosecution calls on the Court to find them guilty and hand down long prison sentences.

"Indictees Bastah and Viskovic knew all their actions were part of the broad and systematic attack. They knew that rape, murder, forcible disappearances or causing mental and physical suffering, which they personally committed, were part of the planned and massive attack," Prosecutor Sanja Jukic said.

Bastah and Viskovic are charged with having persecuted and participated in the murder, beating, capture and rape of civilians, as part of a broad and systematic attack conducted by police and military forces of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina targeted at Bosniak civilians in Vlasenica in the period from April to September 1992.

The indictment alleges that Bastah, also known as Dragan or Car, was a member of the reserve police forces with the Public Safety Station in Vlasenica, while Viskovic, known as Vjetar, was a member of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Army.  

Presenting its closing arguments, the State Prosecution cited each individual count, adding that "there can be no doubt that the indictees' acts came as a result of preconceived plans made by the police and army in Vlasenica".

"Politicians, soldiers and policemen undertook a joint action in Vlasenica. One of the most notorious operations to remove the Bosniak population from their homes and hide the traces of their existence on those territories was implemented in this way," the Prosecutor said.

During her presentation, Prosecutor Jukic particularly mentioned the statement given by Amor Masovic, a member of the Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who said that "836 non-Serb individuals disappeared" from Vlasenica in 1992.  

"It is impossible that the indictees did not know what would happen to the 32 people whose names are included in the list of the missing people, who were in some way linked to indictees Bastah and Viskovic during the course of the trial. The indictees never disclosed the information about the victims, although the families wanted to know," Jukic said.

In particular, the Prosecution cited the counts charging indictee Viskovic with rape, adding that this crime was committed as part of a systematic attack.

"The evidence or statements given by the Defence witnesses did not lead to reexamination of the Prosecution's evidence. More or less they were irrelevant to the allegations contained in the indictment," the Prosecutor said.

Before the presentation of closing arguments, the Prosecution informed the Court that it had decided to drop the charges alleging that Viskovic took several Bosniak civilians, who never came back, from Susica detention camp in June 1992.

The Defence of indictee Bastah is due to present its closing arguments on December 17.

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