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4 February 2016
News

Bojadzic Defense Presents Closing Statement, Calls for Acquittal

Jasmina Djikoli BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The defense presented its closing statement at the trial of Nihad Bojadzic, a former Bosnian Army deputy commander charged with crimes committed in Jablanica during the summer of 1993.

Bojadzic, the former deputy commander of the Zulfikar Squad of the Bosnian Army, has been charged with the mistreatment of Croat detainees held in the Battle of Neretva Museum in Jablanica during the second half of July 1993.

The state prosecution alleges that Bojadzic ordered a protected witness known as C to hit a protected witness known as J on July 28, 1993. The prosecution further alleges that Bojadzic then ordered J to perform oral sex on C.

On July 28, 1993, Bojadzic also allegedly gave an order to remove protected witnesses D and H from one of the detention rooms in the Battle of Neretva Museum. They were then transported off the museum premises in a car with another soldier. The indictment alleges that Bojadzic raped D twice in the Rogica complex in Donja Jablanica.

Presenting her closing statement at today’s hearing, defense attorney Edina Residovic said she believed the trial chamber had been given sufficient evidence to disprove claims that Bojadzic abused prisoners detained in the Jablanica museum.

“After having assessed all the pieces of evidence and their mutual relationships, we are sure the prosecution hasn’t proven any of the acts Bojadzic has been charged with. The only proposal from the defense is for you to acquit our client of all charges,” Residovic said.

Residovic said an alibi for her client was supported by the testimony of numerous witnesses as well as material evidence. She claimed her client was on Mount Igman from July 12-27, 1993, and then in Sarajevo for the next five following days.

“Bojadzic arrived in Sarajevo after having run across the runway early in the morning on July 28 [1993]. On the same day, he met Sefer Halilovic and asked him to provide logistical support. On the basis of that request, he received 5000 Marks and a pistol. A payment order proves that,” Residovic said.

“The prosecution didn’t deny Nihad Bojadzic’s alibi. It hasn’t been proved that he committed the crimes described in the indictment either. Only one correct decision can be made: acquit my client,” Residovic said.

Residovic then described a count which charged Bojadzic with stabbing a captured member of the Croatian Defense Council, a protected witness known as C. Bojadzic allegedly stabbed C in the leg while he was being interrogated in June 1993. Residovic said there were discrepancies between the testimony of state prosecution witnesses who described the attack.

“Witness C first said that Bojadzic was accompanied by a [man named] Kurt. Witness Sead Brankovic said Salem Dlakic was with him during the examination of witness C and that Nihad Bojadzic and Nedzad entered the room later on...He can’t remember Kurt,” Residovic said.

According to Residovic, there are contradictions in terms of the committed actions, meaning the actions charged upon Bojadzic.

“Witness C said Bojadzic asked a person named Kurt to give him a knife, while Brankovic said Dlakic had the knife and that he saw Nihad taking the knife...Also, C told the paramedics that the prison manager had stabbed him. Bojadzic was never the manager of the prison,” Residovic said.

Residovic said the prosecution had also failed to prove that Bojadzic had threatened to kill C or that he had verbally humiliated him on the day of his exchange, March 1, 1994.

“It is clear that witness C presented a number of untrue allegations. His testimony is not credible or supported by a single piece of the prosecution’s evidence,” Residovic said.

The presentation of closing statements will continue on February 11.

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