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23 September 2006
News

Nedjo Samardzic to appear before judges again

BIRN BiH
Appeals filed by both sides to the verdict to Nedjo Samardzic will be considered next week. Nikola Kovacevic and Marko Samardzija will testify to their defence.
Three indictees and one suspect will appear before the judges of the War Crimes Chamber in one day next week.

On September 27, the Appellate council will consider the appeals of the prosecution and defence attorneys of Nedjo Samardzic, filed to the first instance verdict that was handed down at the beginning of April.

The Bosnian court found Samardzic guilty of four out of the ten indictment counts and sentenced him to more than 13 years in prison.

The court rejected the other counts because "the prosecution did not successfully prove beyond reasonable doubt" that the indictee was guilty.

After the verdict was announced, prosecutor Behaija Krnjic stated that he was not satisfied with the sentence and filed pressing charges,as did the defence, which believes that the prosecution did not prove the crimes with which Samardzic is charged.

Both sides will present their arguments before the judges of the Bosnian court, after which the appellate council will make a decision to deny the appeals, sustain and change them, revoke the verdict or return the entire case back to the beginning.

Until now, only one legally valid verdict has been handed down by the War Crimes Chamber - the five-year jail sentence to Abduladhim Maktouf for taking part in war crimes against civilians in Travnik.

Next week, on Monday September 25, Zdravko Bozic - who was deported from the USA with Goran Bencun at the beginning of July this year - will appear before the court.

The prosecution is still to file an indictment, but it is alleged that in July 1995, Bozic - as member of the Army of Republika Srpska –was involved in the murder of detained Bosniaks in Pilice, near Srebrenica, after the fall of the so-called UN safe haven.

The American government extradited Bencun and Bozic on June 30 of this year. Until recently both of them lived Phoenix, Arizona. The US media hinted that Bozic and Bencun are not the only ones whose war past had been investigated by their government.

Marko Samardzija and Nikola Kovacevic, both of whom are charged with war crimes, will testify before the judges next week.

Nikola Kovacevic, who was known by the name Danilusko Kajtez until 1996, will be questioned by his defence attorney on Monday, September 25.

The prosecution charges Kajtez/Kovacevic with war crimes committed against non-Serbs on the territory of municipality Sanski Most.

The defence is denying that Kajtez/Kovacevic committed the crimes with which he is charged.

Marko Samardzija, charged with war crimes committed against the townspeople of Biljani village and other settlements around municipality Kljuc, will also testify to his defence on Thursday, September 28.

The defence wants to prove that Samardzija did not order the attack on the village and murder of civilians on July 10, 1992, as the prosecution alleges. The first defence witnesses claimed that the indictee was present in Biljani village in July 1992, but denied that he is guilty of the murders.

Next week, on September 25 and 26, the prosecution will continue to present its evidence against Dragan Damjanovic, who is charged with war crimes against civilians on the territory of Sarajevo municipality Vogosca.

Some of the prosecution witnesses who testified until now recognised the indictee in the courtroom and spoke of the torture of detainees in Bunker and Planjina kuca detention camps, their taking as forced labour, and the murders of detainees.

On September 25, 26 and 28, the prosecution will also continue to present evidence against Nikola Andrun, who is charged with war crimes against civilians who were detained in Gabela camp near Capljina. It is planned that nine out of a total 23 prosecution witnesses will be questioned this week.

The trial of Gojko Jankovic will also be continued on September 26 and 27, with the presentation of the prosecution's material evidence. Jankovic is charged with crimes that took place on the territory of Foca, including torture and the rape of women. The youngest alleged victim was 12 years old.

On Wednesday, September 27, the trial of Radisav Ljubinac,who is charged with war crimes against civilians of Rogatica, will be continued. Prosecutor Mirsad Strika announced that he would question two new witnesses this week.
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