Jezik / Language:
26 April 2007

Simsic: Appeal Judges Hear Vasiljevic Statement

The testimonies of Boban Simsic's defence witnesses are still under review at his retrial.
According to statement given by Defence witness Ilija Gavrilovic to the first instance Trial Chamber, the police forces which guarded Bosniaks detained in the school in Visegrad treated them in a correct manner.

In the continuation of retrial of the ex-police officer from Visegrad, the appeal judges continued listening to recordings of statements given by witnesses before the Court of BiH in 2005 and 2006.

The first instance verdict passed in July last year sentencing Simsic to five years of imprisonment was overruled by the Appeal Chamber in January 2007.

Ilija Gavrilovic, as well as Simsic, was a member of reserve police forces in Visegrad in 1992. In his statement he said that the police never "performed activities" in the villages of Kuka, Velji Lug and Zlijeb.

"We guarded the Hasan Veletovac school, in which Bosniaks stayed," said Gavrilovic, adding that the policemen behaved in a "correct" manner toward Bosniaks.

The indictment alleges that Simsic, together with members of the Republika Srpska Army and the police, took part in attacks on villages Velji Lug, Kuka and Zlijeb from May to June 1992. Captured civilians were taken to the firefighters' building and Hasan Veletovac school, where they were illegally imprisoned.

Witness Slavisa Jovanovic said that he had been wounded at the beginning of July 1992, and that he had stayed at his sister's in Stara Pazova, Serbia, from 20 July to 20 August that year.

During the prosecution's evidence process, witness Almasa Ahmetspahic said that Slavisa Jovanovic and the indictee were in the village of Velji Lug on 25 July 1992 and were shooting at Bosniak civilians.

"That lady does not tell the truth," said Jovanovic.

Ismet Softic, and a group of Bosniak civilians, were taken by "unknown disguised soldiers" from the village of Zlijeb to the fire brigade building in Visegrad. During the first instance process, he said that Simsic had saved his life there.

"People were taken away from the firefighters' building. They wanted to take me once as well, but Boban said I should go back to my place and that nobody should touch me," claims Softic.

Mitar Vasiljevic - sentenced by the Hague tribunal in February 2004, to 15 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in Visegrad – gave a defence witness statement via videolink.

Vasiljevic said that, in the period from 15 to 28 June 1992, he was in a hospital in Serbia where he was "fixed to a bed" and that he did not participate in war activities with Simsic "for one single minute".

"He was in the police forces and I was in the army," explained the witness.

The indictment alleges that, in the second half of June 1992 in Hasan Veletovac school, Simsic and Vasiljevic forced one Bosniak woman to take her clothes off in front of all detainees and then assaulted her.

The retrial continues on 9 May 2007.
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