Jezik / Language:
7 November 2006

Stankovic defence presents closing arguments

The defence has dismissed the prosecution's evidence as unreliable and denounced witnesses' statements as staged and emotion-driven.
The verdict for Radovan Stankovic, who is charged with crimes against humanity committed against civilians on the territory of municipality Foca, will be announced on Tuesday, November 14.

After the Prosecution urged the Court at the end of October to find Stankovic guilty and give him a long jail sentence, the defence presented its closing argument.

Defence attorney Dragica Glusac denied witness statements regarding the Karaman house in Miljevina. According to the indictment and Prosecution witness testimony, Stankovic was responsible for the operation of this detention camp for women alongside Nedjo Samardzic, who has already received a first instance guilty verdict and been sentenced to more than 13 years imprisonment.

Glusac alleged that the statements of protected witnesses, including three who claimed that Stankovic personally raped them, are unreliable, staged and motivated by "political or emotional" reasons.

"All the witnesses are young and at the time of the alleged events they were capable of reproduction; and although they did not use protection, none of them got pregnant. Now they are all mothers and we all know the consequences of rape on a woman's reproductive capability," Glusac said.

Although the presentation of evidence was closed to the public, the Prosecution said in its closing argument that the Karaman house was a detention camp for women in Miljevina, which the soldiers called a Brothel. The prosecutor claims that a conclusion can be drawn based on witnesses' statements that women were detained in this house, the oldest of whom at the time of detention was 24 years old and the youngest 12.

Defence attorney Glusac claimed that one of the witnesses - who, according to the indictment, was detained in the Karaman house where Stankovic allegedly raped her and then relocated her to an apartment in Foca where he continued raping her - had testified out of revenge.

According to Glusac, during the main hearing this witness was "self-confident" which, according to her, is not typical for a young person of her age who "allegedly survived"such trauma.

"That is proof of revenge by the woman who was in a relationship with Stankovic and who lived with him. There is no question that he was a young and handsome man at the time and that she was of the age when it is easy to fall in love and when breaking up can be hard to handle," Glusac said.

The defence urged the Court to evaluate the circumstances under which "the alleged acts were committed", reminding that it was during wartime and that Stankovic was a young soldier and that many actions from that period are "a consequence of unfortunate circumstances".

"I urge you to evaluate the entire set of events from that period. It is time to finally forget it all. We all have consequences, the victims were among members of other nationalities as well but nobody is accusing anyone, regardless whether it is true or not," Glusac said, and added that "all are equally" to blame for the war and that is the only way to see things.

Stankovic is the first indictee who was transferred from The Hague to Sarajevo on September 1, 2005, as part of the exit strategy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He was arrested by SFOR in July 2002.

With the exception of the very beginning of the trial, the indictee has refused to come to the courtroom or have any contact with the Court or even his own defence team.

Stankovic, a married father of three, was born in 1969 in Foca. According to the indictment, he is charged that he, as member of Miljevina battalion that was commanded by Pero Elez, committed crimes from April to the end of 1992, including murder, physical abuse and the rape of detained women.
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