The closing defence statement at the trial of ex-fighter Veselin Vlahovic, alias Batko, said the prosecution hadn't proved he knew about a systematic attack on non-Serb civilians.
Vlahovic's lawyer Rade Golic said the prosecution had not established the existence of a widespread and systematic attack, adding that his client could not have known about it anyway because he did not belong to an army unit.
His lawyer also said that the credibility of several prosecution witnesses was questionable, saying that the defence was not able to check up on them because they were under official protection.
Paramilitary fighter Vlahovic is accused of killing and participating in the murders of more than 30 people in the Sarajevo districts of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici in the period from May to August 1992.
He is also charged with persecution, abuse and rape.
Vlahovic, known as Batko ('Uncle') was caught in 2010 in Spain by police investigating a criminal gang, after previously escaping from a Montenegrin prison where he had been serving a sentence for robbery.
Golic said that the conflict in Sarajevo was triggered by the murder of a Serb, Nikola Gardovic, on March 1, 1992 and the events that followed were “an elaboration of that”.
“Serbs then became afraid that Bosniaks would use force against them, because they were the minority in Sarajevo,” Golic said.
Golic further asserted that Bosnian Serb forces could have deported Sarajevo's entire non-Serb population to the other side of River Miljacka, but did not do it.
Vlahovic's defence asked the court to apply old Yugoslav laws to the case instead of the Bosnian criminal code when deciding on the sentence, because, under the old laws, the maximum jail term for war crimes was 20 years’ imprisonment.
The prosecution has asked for Vlahovic to be sentenced to the maximum penalty available under Bosnian law, which is 45 years.
The defence is due to continue its closing statement on Thursday.