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News 28 Nov 12

Batko’s Lawyer Claims Defence Case is Agony

The defence of Veselin “Batko” Vlahović, who is charged with war crimes in Sarajevo in 1992, gave up calling the remaining witnesses saying its evidence presentation was a “time of agony”.

 

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

Vlahovic’s laywer, Radivoje Lazarevic, gave up on calling the last six witnesses and announced he would enter material exhibits into evidence next week and thus end the defence’s evidence hearing.

Although the expert witness Omer Cehajic, a neuro-psychiatrist, came to the hearing in order to testify about the health of four potential defence witnesses, the defence lawyer decided not to question him.

“Witnesses for the defence refused to come to the trial for ethical reasons and I do not wish to force anyone to come to the courtroom,” said Lazarevic.

The prosecution charges Vlahovic with murdering and taking part in the murder of several persons, rape, abuse and torture of civilians and taking of their money in 1992 committed in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici.

During the court session on Wednesday, the defence questioned the protected witness, S-4, whether she was raped before or after her neighbours were taken away from her building.

“I know that at the beginning of the war Batko took away four neighbours from our building, but whether he took me to the garages where I was raped before or after that I really cannot remember,” said S-4.

In her testimony from December last year, the witness said that on several occasions Vlahovic took her to the garage in the Grbavica shopping mall and raped her.

Lazarevic asked the witness about discrepancies in her testimonies, specifying that in her statement at the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo she said that she left Grbavica on June 17, 1994, while she told the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina that it was in April 1995.

“I swear I don’t know the date. I was in such a mess with two children and my father; you think I was concerned with dates? I was interested in mere survival,” said S-4.

The trial will resume on December 5, 2012.

 

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Background

Timeline – Cuska Case

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlac in Kosovo in 1999.

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