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27 January 2015
News

Prosecution Requests Sentence for former HOS Members

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, requests the Court to pronounce Ivan Zelenika, Srecko Herceg, Edib Buljubasic, Ivan Medic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic guilty of crimes in Dretelj. The Defence of Ivan Zelenika calls for a verdict of release.

As it continued presenting its closing statement, the Prosecution said that a widespread and systematic attack against Serbs was conducted and that the indictees knew about it and participated in it deliberately.

“We consider that they committed a crime against humanity. I propose that the Court determine their responsibility, pronounce them guilty and pronounce criminal sanctions against them,” Prosecutor Remzija Smailagic said.

Retelling the witnesses' testimonies, the Prosecutor said that they spoke about the arrests and detention in Dretelj detention camp, where they were beaten and abused, while some of the detainees were killed.

“We consider that those actions were committed in continuity. The indictees had freedom to act, to arrest, examine, confiscate property... All this arises from the witnesses' statements,” the Prosecutor said.

Zelenika, Herceg, Buljubasic, Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic, former members of the Croatian Defence Forces, HOS, have been on trial, since June 2012, for having participated in forcing detainees to perform hard labour and torturing them. The Prosecution alleges that several people died due to the consequences of the abuse.

According to the charges, Zelenika was a HOS officer, Herceg was Commander of Dretelj, Buljubasic was Deputy Commander, while Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic were guards.

Analysing the Defence's evidence, the Prosecutor pointed out that it had not been proven that the indictees did not commit the crimes, adding that Defence witnesses avoided talking about persecutions, murder and abuse.

Presenting its closing statement, the Defence of indictee Zelenika said that the Prosecution had neither managed to prove the existence of a widespread and systematic attack against the Serb population and a joint criminal enterprise nor the indictee's participation in them.

“The Defence is saying that the indictee was not a senior officer or manager of the Military Dispensary in Mostar… The Prosecution has not presented any pieces of evidence, appointing him to that position,” said Fadil Abaz, Defence attorney of the indictee.

Analysing all counts in the indictment, charging Zelenika with having beaten, examined and threatened the persons who were brought to the Military Dispensary, the Defence attorney said that they had not been proved.

“The Defence considers that the Prosecution has not managed to prove that Ivan Zelenika committed those actions. We propose that the indictee be acquitted of the charges,” Abaz said.

Third indictee Buljubasic requested the Court to release his Defence attorney from duties, because, as he said, he had not visited him often enough at the Penal and Correctional Facility in Zenica, where he is serving his sentence for another crime. The Chamber did not accept this request, reminding the indictee that it had already appointed his defence attorneys four times.

The Defence of Buljubasic and Herceg are due to present their closing statements on February 10.

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