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6 April 2009
News

Bastah et al: Silent Defence

BIRN BiH
Following his attorney's advice, suspect Radenko Stanic refuses to testify in Predrag Bastah's Defence.
The Defence of Predrag Bastah, who is charged with crimes committed in Vlasenica, attempted to examine Radenko Stanic, who is under investigation by the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Stanic refused to testify, arguing that in his own case he is adopting a silent defence. 

"Since in that case he is defending himself by silence, no incriminating questions can be asked. I have advised Stanic not to respond to any questions," Veljko Civsa, Stanic's attorney, told the court.

In addition to Bastah, a former member of the reserve police forces, the State Prosecution charges Goran Viskovic, a former member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, with a number of crimes committed against the Bosniak population in Vlasenica in 1992.

During the war, Stanic was allegedly Commander of the Police Station in Vlasenica. He was originally invited to testify at this trial on March 30. He appeared in court, but asked for an attorney to be appointed in order to accompany him during his testimony. 

The State Prosecution suspects that Stanic, Goran Garic, Djordje Ilic, Dragisa Tesic and Rajko Losic participated in crimes against humanity from May 1992 until an unknown date in 1996. 

The Prosecution considers that the suspects unlawfully detained and abused Bosniak civilians on the territory of Vlasenica Municipality. Garic, Ilic and Losic were policemen, while Tesic was a detainee in the police station in Vlasenica.

The Trial Chamber took Stanic's personal details and advised him of his rights, but the witness did not take an oath since he is under suspicion of "having committed the same crimes". 

Milorad Potparic, Bastah's Defence attorney, did manage to secure a response when he asked if Stanic "knew the people in Vlasenica, as he was born there". 

"No. I was born in Grabovica. I went to school in Sarajevo. I worked in Milici most of the time. I spent most of my life in Grabovica and Milici," Stanic said.

When asked about his engagement with the police forces in Vlasenica in 1992, Stanic refused to respond, after his attorney had intervened.

"In the other case, my client is charged with command responsibility. It would therefore be incriminating for him to respond to these questions," Civsa said.

With the Defence's consent, the Trial Chamber dismissed the witness, noting that under the circumstances it would be difficult to examine him. 

The next hearing is due to take place on Thursday, April 9.
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