Jezik / Language:
11 July 2007

Mandic: Verdict Due on 18 July

Momcilo Mandic's Defence team has denied all counts of the indictment - and has accused the Prosecution of not proving its allegations.
Two defence attorneys and indictee Momcilo Mandic have been presenting their closing remarks for over seven hours asking for a verdict of release.

All three have, once again, denied all allegations in the indictment charging Mandic with war crimes against civilians and humanity committed during 1992.

The Prosecution presented its closing remarks on Monday 9 July and called for "long-term imprisonment" for Mandic. The verdict will be pronounced on 18 July.

"The indictment is unfounded and confusing. No single allegation is true," Mandic told the Court.

"I never hit or maltreated anybody, and I can not understand how someone can blame me for the death of nine people," Mandic said with a shaky voice and with tears in his eyes.

The Prosecution has tried to prove that Mandic, former justice minister in the Serbian republic of BiH, was responsible for functioning of correctional facilities and detention camps established on the territory of Sarajevo controlled by Serbs and in Foca in 1992.

He is also charged with having commanded, as "assistant justice minister of internal affairs of the Serbian Republic of BiH", the attack on the Staff  Education Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of BiH in Vraca at the beginning of April 1992, and with having attacked one person and threatening to kill him.

Mandic's defence attorneys consider that the Prosecution has not been able to prove the allegations in the indictment. They say that prosecutor Behaija Krnjic's closing remarks were "political".

"The prosecutor has tried to convince the trial chamber that Mandic contributed to the fall of the former Yugoslavia. We consider it irrelevant and believe it does not represent a war crime against civilians," said Milan Vujin, one of the indictee's attorneys.

Speaking of the first allegation in the indictment, which charges Mandic with having led the attack on the centre in Vraca, Vujin has said that the presented evidence "shows that this was a conflict between two armed groups belonging to the same ministry".

"The conflict happened on 5 April 1992. BiH was not an internationally recognised state at the time, so the Pprosecution can not say that this was a conflict between the armed forces of the Republic of BiH and rebellious armed forces," said Vujin.

The Defence has, once again, denied that Mandic had jurisdiction, as justice minister in the Serbian Republic of BiH, over detainees in the correctional facilities - saying that all of them were "under military control".

"Mandic was in charge of appointing managers, but not of preventing them from doing certain things because they never informed him of one single incident or something like that," said Refik Serdarevic, the indictee's second attorney.

The Defence has expressed regrets for "what happened to detainees, who did not have adequate conditions in detention camps on the territory of  Vogosca, such as Planjina kuca and Iskre warehouse", and added that Mandic is not guilty.

In July last year the Court of BiH confirmed the indictment against Momcilo Mandic and the trial started on 6 November.
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