Jezik / Language:
9 February 2011

Indictment Against Veselin 'Batko' Vlahovic to Be Filed Soon

Nearly six months after the extradition of Veselin 'Batko' Vlahovic from Spain, the State Prosecution has said that it will file an indictment against him “within one month”.

 Boris Grubesic, spokesperson for the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told BIRN's Justice Report that the investigation against Vlahovic was in its final stage, adding the indictment against him would be one of the most comprehensive because it would contain charges for “the most brutal war crimes that have ever been heard about in the courtroom”. 

Radivoje Lazarevic, the Defence attorney for suspect Vlahovic, says he expects the indictment to be filed “in a few days” because the investigation began “more than two and a half years ago”.

“As far as I know, Vlahovic's custody expires in late February, when six months will have passed since his extradition. The custody has been extended two or three times already, but the indictment has not been filed. I must say this is an exception to the normal practice of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Lazarevic said.

Veselin Vlahovic, also known as Batko, was arrested in Spain in March this year. He was extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina five months later. He was then placed in custody on suspicion that he participated in murders, abuse, robbery, rape and forcible disappearances of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats from Grbavica and Vraca, Sarajevo in 1992 and 1993.

Sasa Baricanin, who is suspected of having participated in crimes committed in Grbavica together with Vlahovic, was arrested on February 1 on a warrant issued by the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The State Prosecution says that this “proves that the investigation is coming to an end”.

“Many witnesses said that suspect Vlahovic was not alone, but he had associates. We shall continue investing efforts into identifying and processing his accomplices,” Grubesic said.

In an effort to collect evidence “about all crimes of which Veselin Vlahovic is suspected”, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued a public call in October last year, asking witnesses to contact the Prosecution and give statements about the crimes.

“We are quite satisfied with the response to the public call. Witnesses from all parts of the world have contacted us, including witnesses from Norway, the US and other countries, as well as victims and witnesses who still live in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Grubesic said.

Vlahovic's Defence said that once the indictment had been filed, it would ask the Court to order a psychiatric examination of the suspect because he “constantly complains about mental problems”.

“Vlahovic approached me several times, complaining about various problems he has, most of which are related to his mental health. I advised him to visit a physician at the Detention Unit. I even think he visited him twice and some symptoms were found,” Lazarevic said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that a medical examination of Vlahovic has not been conducted so far because “there is no need to do so”.


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