Dusko Tadic and Milorad Zivkovic’s lawyers said the Sarajevo court hadn’t proved they carried out mass killings and expulsions of Bosniaks in the eastern town of Cajnice in 1992.
Tadic’s defence called on the judges on Wednesday to free their client, following a previous plea for release from Zivkovic’s lawyers ahead of the verdict scheduled for April 12.
“On the basis of the evidence presented, this trial chamber can only acquit him,” said Tadic’s attorney, Milenko Vojo Radovic.
Former Cajnice police station chief Zivkovic and former Blue Eagles paramilitary unit member Tadic are accused of the murder of 28 civilians on May 19, 1992, in the Cajnice suburb of Mostina, as well as the arrest, incarceration and expulsion of Bosniaks from the town.
The defence however said that the prosecution had failed to prove that Tadic participated in the arrest of civilians and their illegal incarceration in a large metal container, or that he participated in the murders at a hunting lodge in Mostina.
“All the arrested were turned over to the army headquarters. The defendant had no participation whatsoever in the arrest and containment [of the Bosniaks]. He had the status of a common soldier,” said Radovic.
He said that soldiers who were at the hunting lodge on the day of the killings said they had not seen Dusko Tadic there and that the murders were committed by another Blue Eagles paramilitary fighter, Veljo Tadic.
Radovic said that the statements from witnesses who claimed they heard that his client had participated in the murders were contradictory and unreliable.
“None of the witnesses for the prosecution were direct eyewitnesses of the event,” the defence lawyer said.
He said that the statements from witnesses who accused Dusko Tadic were contradicted by statements from guards who were at the lodge when Veljo Tadic arrived there, drunk and armed with an automatic rifle.