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28 June 2016
News

Bosnian Army Commander Oric Trial Stopped

Marija Tausan BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The trial of Bosniak wartime commander Naser Oric for crimes against Serb prisoners of war in the areas of Srebrenica and Bratunac was stopped because of the unacceptable behaviour of a prosecution witness.
The presiding judge, Saban Maksumic, said on Tuesday that he decided to stop the trial because the witness was behaving unacceptably and he had to protect the dignity and authority of the court.

“If the prosecution believes this witness is important, then they should examine his health,” said Maksumic.

Before the witness entered the courtroom, Oric’s defence said they had information that Mustafic was a “disabled person because of mental illness.”

Prosecutor Miroslav Janjic said that he did not have evidence of this and that he spoke to the witness twice but did not get such an impression.

After the witness entered, he gave comments while the presiding judge was explaining the rules of the courtroom.

When told that false testimony is a crime, the witness said that he was ready to be criminally prosecuted. Asked how he felt, the witness said: “I feel great, today is a joyous day.”

Maksumic then warned the witness.

After the first question by the prosecutor, the witness stood up with a book in his hand and the judge stopped the hearing.

“You are not letting me express myself,” the witness complained.

After a short recess, the judge said he would not continue the hearing in light of the witness’ behavior and the information the defence offered about his mental health. He said that if the prosecution could prove he was ready to stand trial, the court would recall Mustafic.

“However, if there is a problem, the court might have to sanction someone,” said Maksumic.

Janjic said that the prosecution will decide whether to recall the witness at a later stage.

Oric and former Bosnian Army soldier Sabahudin Muhic have been accused of killing three Serb captives in the villages of Zalazje, Lolici and Kunjarac in 1992.

According to the charges, Oric was the commander of Bosnian Army territorial defence units in Srebrenica and Muhic a member of his forces.

The trial will resume on July 12.
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