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2 December 2013

Guilty Verdict Sought for Crimes in Bratunac

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Bosnia's State Prosecution said in its closing arguments that the former Bosnian Serb military police chief, Savo Babic, should be found guilty for crimes against Bosniaks in Bratunac.
Prosecutor Predrag Tomic told the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday that the evidence proved that a wide and systematic attack on Bosniak civilians took place in 1992 in the eastern town of Bratunac.

“Witnesses have confirmed that there was a division between Muslims and Serbs, and that hostilities started when the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, fired all Bosniak workers from public offices and attacked and burned Bosniak villages,” Tomic said.

According to him, the Bosnian Serbs expelled around 5,000 Bosniaks from the Bratunac area.

“We have also proved, beyond all doubt, that Savo Babic was a part of this systematic attack, as Commander of the Military Police in Bratunac,” Tomic said.

The Bosnian Prosecution charges Babic with taking part in crimes against Bosniak civilians in the Vuk Karadzic Elementary School in Bratunac in May 1992. According to the indictment, around 400 civilians were tortured and abused, and dozens died as a result.

The prosecutor said Babic received his instructions from the local Crisis Committee, and thus knew about the crimes committed in the school.

Tomic said it was proven that members of the military police under Babic’s control guarded the school premises.

“A large number of witnesses described Babic’s arrival at the school with the father of deceased judge, Goran Zekic.

They all claimed that Babic must have seen and known about the abuse of prisoners”, said Tomic, adding that Babic gave orders to guards to prepare prisoners for transfer.

According to the prosecutor, some of the witnesses who were also members of the Military Police changed their statements to minimize their responsibility and that of Babic.

“Between 60 and 120 prisoners were killed in these premises… conditions were inhumane and degrading, and the screams were audible day and night,” said Tomic, adding that Babic was an “accomplice to the killings”.

Babic’s defence will present their closing arguments on Tuesday.
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