Jezik / Language:
19 October 2006

Jankovic: First defence witnesses

Indictee's attorney has called seven witnesses to refute the prosecution's claims that his client raped women in Foca.
The legal team representing Gojko Jankovic, who is charged with war crimes committed in Foca, has called seven witnesses in the first phase of the trial's defence stage.

The first four witnesses, couples Popovic and Paprica from Igalo in Montenegro, were called to give an alibi to the indictee for July 3 and 4 and October 31, 1992 when, according to the prosecution, some of the crimes with which Jankovic is charged took place.

However, these witnesses gave conflicting statements.

According to the indictment, on July 3, 1992 Jankovic commanded a group of soldiers that executed an attack on Kremenik village, near Foca, when some civilians were wounded, a group was killed, and women and children detained.

In the indictment it is also stated that at the end of October or beginning of November 1992, Jankovic and others took three inmates from a women's detention camp known as Karamanova kuca in Miljevina, including a 12-year-old, brought them to an apartment in Foca and raped them.

Ljubinka and Milomir Popovic claim that on July 4, 1992 Jankovic was celebrating the birthday of his nephew in Igalo with them.

However, Andja and Milos Paprica testified that Jankovic was celebrating his nephew's birthday on the same day, but in Kotor, some 45 km from Herceg Novi, and that the Popovics were not at that celebration.

Prosecutor Philip Alcock asked all four witnesses whether they had talked jointly or separately with someone before giving the testimony about what they were supposed to say, which they denied.

Milos Paprica said that all four of them came together one day before the trial in a car from Herceg Novi to Foca, then to Sarajevo, and that on the way the "exchanged maybe five sentences" about the court process.

Ljubinka and Milomir Popovic also said that Jankovic was in Herceg Novi at the end of October, where he was celebrating the birthday with them. Ljubinka Popovic did not specify the exact date of the celebration, while her husband said that it took place on October 31.

Radmila Susnjevic, a nurse from Foca, also testified as a witness and talked about the two protected witnesses who, according to the prosecution and their statements, were held as sex slaves in apartments in Foca.

Susnjevic said that she knew both of the witnesses, who were minors at the time, and that she helped them while they were living in the apartment building in Foca where she also lived. She said that she helped one of the two girls, who got pregnant during her detention, while she was giving birth to the child.

According to witness Susnjevic, when she met the girls they both had Serb names, and the girl who gave birth told her that she was kidnapped from her village, but not that she was raped.

"We did not talk about that because it would be difficult to me, as woman and mother, to listen to stories like that," the witness said.

Susnjevic also said that the two girls mentioned Jankovic to her in "a very positive light" and that they often asked about him and said that he was their "saviour".

Other defence witnesses also talked about two protected witnesses, who were both minors during the war, who, according to their own testimonies, were kidnapped from their villages, then taken to detention camps for women, where they were raped on multiple occasions. The prosecution claims that Jankovic participated in their abuse.

Witness Branka Pavkovic also knew and socialised with one of the two protected witnesses during the war, but found out this woman's real name only after the war ended.

Branka Pavkovic also said that she met this witness through a Serb soldier, who lived with her in an apartment in Foca and that they later married and had two children, but she never knew that the woman had been kidnapped and raped on multiple occasions.

"We simply never talked about the past. Our discussions were only about our daily lives," Pavkovic said.

The seventh witness, Sanja Kulic, also spoke of one of the two girls who were detained in an apartment in Foca, claiming that she socialised with her during the war, and that she had freedom of movement.

Kulic also said that she had met another person in the same apartment who "mentioned Jankovic and said all the best about him and that she was head over heels in love with him".

The continuation of the trial is scheduled for November 8, when the defence will question four more witnesses.
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