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22 September 2015
News

Brnjic, Barukcic and Glavas Question State Prosecution Testimony

Džana Brkanić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The defense of Marijan Brnjic, Martin Barukcic and Ilija Glavas presented material evidence to contest claims made during the testimony of a deceased state prosecution witness.

Martin Barukcic, Marijan Brnjic, Pavo Glavas and Ilija Glavas, have been charged with the rape, assault, intimidation and humiliation of Serb women in Odzak from June to August 1992. The defendants are former members of the 102nd Brigade of the Croatian Defense Council.

Pavo Glavas was released from custody on September 16 after his defense had completed its presentation of evidence.

At today’s hearing, Marijan Brnjic’s defense presented a statement given by deceased witness Ljubica Lesic in 2011. In that statement, Lesic said Martin Barukcic, his brother Jozo, Pavo Glavas and Ilija Glavas took her to Posavska Mahala in the municipality of Odzak on the night of July 4 or 5, 1992.

According to Lesic’s statement, Barukcic told Marijan Brnjic he had “finished the job.” Lesic then said that Brnjic forced her to drink, pushed her onto a bed and raped her.

In her statement, Lesic said she fainted and woke up covered in blood. She said Marijan Brnjic was with her and was drunk. She said he raped her again, anally and orally.

Marijan Brnjic said Lesic made different allegations in her 2014 statement, which was presented by the prosecution. In that statement she had referred to the month of June and not July.

Ilija Glavas’ defense read another statement which Lesic gave in 1995. In that statement, she had said she couldn’t recognize any of the five men who raped her. In the same statement, she had said Marijan Brnjic and Martin Barukcic drove her to Posavska Mahala and that she recognized Marijan Brnjic when she woke up.

Glavas’ defense attorney, Senad Bilic, described the inconsistencies in the three different statements made by Lesic. Bilic said that in her 2014 statement, Lesic had said she wasn’t sure that Pavo and Ilija Glavas were present during her abduction and rape.

Bilic presented more material evidence, including a letter from the “Women, Victims of War” association from Odzak, which was sent to chief prosecutor Goran Salihovic and prosecutor Milorad Barasin. Bilic said this association put pressure on the prosecution to go after Pavo and Ilija Glavas. He said a similar letter was submitted two days prior to their arrest in April 2014.

Prosecutor Miroslav Janjic objected to relevance of this evidence. He said the prosecution received similar letters from various associations of war victims every day.

Martin Barukcic’s defense attorney, Anto Lukac, presented birth certificates confirming the identity of Barukcic’s parents and siblings.

Anto Lukac said Barukcic’s brother’s name is Anto, not Jozo, as stated by some injured parties. The prosecution objected to relevance of this evidence, which included the defendant’s personal identification cards and a document on his father’s retirement in Germany.

Earlier this month, the trial chamber determined that Pavo Glavas wasn’t in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the time period covered by the indictment and released him from custody. At today’s hearing, the other defendants in the case also requested to be released from court ordered custody and prohibitive measures.

Brnjic and Ilija Glavas’ defense teams requested the termination of custody measures for their clients. Martin Barukcic’s defense requested the termination of his prohibitive measures, because the grounded suspicion against him had been brought into question.

“The same witnesses who accused Pavo, accused Ilija Glavas as well,” defense attorney Senad Bilic said.

Prosecutor Janjic said the state court’s decision referred to Pavo Glavas, which didn’t mean that grounded suspicion for the other defendants had been brought into question as well.

This trial will continue on September 29.

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