After the prosecution and the defence of three ex Bosnian army soldiers charged with war crimes in Bosnian Krajina, presented their closing statements, the court announced that the verdict would be pronounced on September 5.
The presiding judge, Zeljka Marenic, said that the court would need time before it could pronounce the verdict against Bosniaks Mehura Selimovic, Adil Ruznic and Emir Mustafic, considering that this was “an extremely complex case and that the trial has lasted for more than three years”.
During the Wednesday’s hearing the defence teams for Ruznic and Mustafic asked the court to acquit their clients of all charges. Selimovic’s defence presented their closing arguments at the previous hearing and requested the court to find him not guilty.
“During the course of the war I acted in line with regulations and rules of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I did not commit a single crime,” said Ruznic, while Mustafic said that he had never “even insulted, let alone hit” anybody in his life.
Ruznic, Mustafic and Mehura Selimovic are charged with crimes against Serb civilians and prisoners of war in the Bosnian Krajina region.
According to the charges, in the period from 1994 to 1996, they took part in illegal detention of Bosnian Serb soldiers and police, as well as civilians, in the detention centres in Bihac, Cazin and Bosanski Petrovac.
The prosecution alleges that Selimovic was Counter-intelligence Officer and Deputy Chief of the Military Security Section with the 5th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ruznic was Assistant Commander for Security and Mustafic was a military policeman.
Ruzic’s lawyer, Alaga Bajramovic, said that his client did not have actual power over prisoners in the collection centres, adding that wardens and guards were responsible for welfare of civilians and prisoners of war.
“Adil Ruznic is not capable of committing war crimes. I hope that the Trial Chamber has realized that during the trial,” Bajramovic said.
Hasan Veladzic, defence attorney of Mustafic, described his client as well known and well loved personality in Bihac, adding that he was “a hippie and artistic person”.
“He lost his eye as a child. Therefore, he is disabled and not capable of conducting any type of interrogation or beating of prisoners. He used to be, and still is, a good worker and music editor for Bihac Radio,” Veladzic said.
According to Veladzic, Mustafic was “a clerk” with the military police unit and worked at the collection centres only a few hours per day during the course of two months in 1995 in order “to help administration workers”.
Previously, the prosecution had asked the court to find all three defendants guilty.