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17 February 2016

Injured Party Survived “Traumatic” Experience, Says Neuropsychiatrist at Vojic and Mesic Trial

Jasmina Djikoli BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The presentation of evidence at the trial of Adil Vojic and Bekir Mesic concluded with the findings of a state prosecution expert and the property and legal claim of the injured party. Vojic and Mesic have been charged with wartime rape committed in the Bihac area in 1994.
Vojic and Mesic, former members of the 501st Brigade of the Fifth Corps of the Bosnian Army, have been charged with raping a woman in the Bihac area on the night of May 1 or 2, 1994.

Testifying at today’s hearing, neuropsychiatrist Omer Cemalovic said the injured party, a protected witness known as D-1, survived an “extremely stressful, traumatic experience.” He said the trauma led to a change in her personality. He said he reached this conclusion based on his examination of the injured party and a review of her medical documentation.

“According to psychiatric criteria, this person is practically ruined. She manifests symptoms characteristic of such events. I am completely sure she experienced that type of trauma,” Cemalovic said. He said he determined that D-1’s overall ability to live a normal life was reduced by 60 percent.

When asked by the defense at which point injured parties normally seek help, Cemalovic said people who suffered war trauma often request help after a long period of time passes.

“The number of persons approaching us for help has increased over the course of the past three years, although everything ended so long ago,” Cemalovic said.

The injured party’s property and legal claim was also presented at today’s hearing. She requested the amount of 56,000 KM as compensation for her mental suffering and reduced ability to live a normal life.

Nedzla Sehic, D-1’s legal representative, said it was more practical for the Bosnian state court to deal with this request, in order to ensure cost efficiency and to avoid exposing D-1 to further trauma.

She said the “defectiveness” of the legal system was an additional reason for the state court to respond to D-1’s claim.

“Should D-1 be referred to file a civil suit, which is the usual practice in situations like this, she would have to disclose her identity,” Sehic said.

The defense teams will express their opinion regarding this request at the next hearing, prior to the state prosecution’s closing statement.

The prosecution is scheduled to present its closing statement on March 2.
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