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14 March 2016

Closing Statements Presented at Vahid Hadrovic Trial

Dzenana Sivac BIRN BiH Zenica

The presentation of evidence at the retrial of Vahid Hadrovic ended with closing statements at the cantonal court of Zenica. Hadrovic has been charged with crimes in Kakanj. The pronouncement of the verdict has been scheduled for March 16.

Hadrovic has been charged with participating in the murder of a Serb civilian in the village of Plandiste on June 9, 1993. He was originally charged with Fadil Dajic, but his case was separated due to his poor health.

Presenting her closing statements, prosecutor Amra Ahmetlic said the prosecution had demonstrated Hadrovic’s guilt. She reminded the chamber of statements made by witnesses and eyewitnesses who saw the crimes take place.

“Those testimonies are supported by the findings of a medical expert witness. Life-threatening injuries to the head, which were caused by blows with a hard mechanical object, were found on the injured party’s skeletal remains,” Ahmetlic said.

Under a first instance verdict, Hadrovic and Dajic were both sentenced to ten years in prison. However, the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina repealed the verdict and ordered a retrial.

Hadrovic’s defense attorney, Vasvija Vidovic, said the trial chamber failed to follow the instructions of the Supreme Court, which enabled the re-examination of certain witnesses and court experts. She said this could have been done during one of the hearings.

After having analyzed all of the witness testimony, Vidovic said there were contradictory allegations and bias in the testimony of key witnesses. As such, she said the court couldn’t determine the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Vidovic said the defense recruited a ballistics expert whose findings were relevant with regard to murders committed with firearms. She said if the court considered this evidence unlawful, it should have ordered a new expert evaluation.

“It has not been determined how the injured party was injured and this is a decisive fact,” Vidovic said.

She said elements of the crime, starting from its classification as a war crime, had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. She called upon the court to hand down a verdict of release.

Hadrovic addressed the court and said he was innocent. He said he could look everyone in the eye.

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