The trial of Savo Babic, an ex Serb military policeman charged with war crimes against Bosniaks committed in the town of Bratunac began with the presentation of the prosecution's opening argument.
The prosecution announced that by examining at least 46 witnesses, 26 of them protected, and entering 180 exhibits into evidence, it would prove that Babic, as a military police commander, was responsible for imprisoning and abusing non-Serb civilians in the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac, eastern Bosnia, in May 1992.
“Around 400 imprisoned civilian lived in fear for their lives. They were beaten and tortured every day, and several dozen civilians were murdered or died because of the conditions in the school. Most of their remains were found in mass graves near Bratunac,” specifies the indictment.
The prosecutor, Dika Omerovic, emphasized that Babic, as the commander of the military police, had “absolute power over lives of prisoners and conditions in the school”, which, she said, were utterly brutal.
Babic’s defence said it would present its opening arguments after the prosecution finishes its evidence hearing.
The defence lawyer, Petko Pavlovic, asked for an additional defence attorney to be appointed since it was a complex case.
“I got nine binders with statements from the prosecution. Some witnesses gave depositions several times. It is impossible for one man to provide a quality defence in this case,” said Pavlovic.
The prosecution objected to the defence’s request. The court will make its decision regarding the additional defence lawyer at a later date.
Bratunac is a town in eastern Bosnia, located near the Serbian border. In 1992 Serb forces took over the town, triggering an exodus of Bosniaks, who formed the majority of the population at the time.
According to the ICTY verdicts, those expulsions were accompanied by brutality and violence: killings, sexual assaults and rapes. Throughout 1992 some 1,000 non-Serbs were killed in the municipality.
The trial is set to resume on November 19 when the first witnesses will testify.