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23 October 2015
News

Turajlic Verdict Expected Early November

Sanela Gakovic BIRN BiH Mostar
The cantonal court of Mostar scheduled the verdict in the Ibro Turajlic trial for Monday, November 2. Turajlic, nicknamed Zelo, has been charged with war crimes in Pocitelj in the municipality of Capljina in 1992.
Ibro Turajlic has been charged with killing prisoner of war Mitar Zelenika in the area of Pocitelj in 1992. Zelenika had been wounded and offered medical assistance prior to his murder.

In its closing statement, the cantonal prosecution called upon the court to hand down a guilty verdict. The defense said it expected a verdict of release.

“Eyewitness Ale Duric gave a detailed and vivid description of Mitar Zelenkovic’s murder, thus confirming the allegations contained in the indictment in their entirety,” prosecutor Darko Zovko said. He said other witnesses supported Duric’s testimony.

Defense attorney Edina Residovic said the cantonal prosecution had not proved “any of the elements in the indictment.”

“What does the prosecutor offer as a confirmation of his allegations? He relies on Ale Duric, who is an absolutely non-credible witness and other hearsay witnesses. Therefore, on the basis of an objective analysis of all the evidence, one can determine that Turajlic didn’t commit the crime,” Residovic said.

Prior to the presentation of closing statements, Zaim Hasic testified as a cantonal prosecution witness via video link from Belgium. Hasic said he participated in the operation in Pocitelj in mid-1992.

“We were tasked with going towards the school building. I was at the end of the line. I really don’t know whether Turajlic was with me. The front part of the line of soldiers came across an ambush near the school building, so a conflict broke out. The whole line of soldiers was scattered...I jumped down to the ground, hitting my head against rocks. I think the shooting lasted 20 minutes or a maximum of half an hour. It was dark and nothing could be seen,” Hasic said.

Hasic said he remained in the same place for two more hours, until dawn. He said he didn’t see any of his fellow soldiers after the shooting.

“While I was at the base in Pocitelj in the afternoon on that same day, I heard that three Serb soldiers had been killed. I don’t know who or where it happened,” Hasic said.

When asked whether Ale Duric had ever contacted him with regards to the incident in Pocitelj, Hasic said Duric’s wife had called him in 2013.

“She asked me to confirm that Ale Duric had not killed Mitar Zelenkovic. I told her I couldn’t confirm that, because I knew nothing about it, but I think Ale does not have the nerve and courage to do such a thing,” Hasic said.

The verdict will be handed down on November 2.
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