News 14 Nov 12

Vlahovic Offends Journalist in Courtroom

After he failed to appear at the last two hearings, Veselin “Batko” Vlahovic, who is on the trial for war crimes in Sarajevo, upon entering the courtroom, turned to a journalist and cursed her.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

When the Trial Chamber entered the courtroom, the prosecutor, Behaija Krnjic, asked that the defendant Vlahovic be warned about his behaviour in the courtroom.

“As the trial draws to its end, there are more and more incidents. Today Vlahovic cursed the mother of a journalist and witness in this case and I plead with you to warn him about such behaviour in the courtroom,” said Krnjic.

The journalist of the Sarajevo based newspaper "Oslobodjenje", Edina Kamenica, was called as a witness in order to confirm the authenticity of her texts about crimes at Grbavica.

The presiding judge, Zoran Bozic, said that the Trial Chamber did not witness the event, but he warned the defendant that he had to act appropriately in the courtroom.

“Whom did I curse? These are provocations. If I said something to someone, let me leave,” said Vlahovic.

The Trial Chamber member, Mira Smajlovic, then warned Vlahovic that he was disrespecting the court.

Vlahovic is charged with murdering and taking part in murder of more than 30 persons, as well as with abusing and robbing non-Serbs between May and August 1992 on the territory of the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici.

Zoran Katanic from Ruma in Serbia, who employed Vlahovic as a security guard in his tavern in the late summer of 1992, testified for the defence at this hearing.

“I sought someone from the outside and a friend of mine recommended Batica from Niksic and in the second half of August in 1992 he started working for me,” said Katanic.

He said that the defendant’s duty was to come to the work every day, but that he failed to show up on several occasions.

The other witness, Zehra Zele, testified about her father-in-law being taken away from Grbavica and subsequently killed. She emphasised she was not an eyewitness to the murder, but that she heard about it from her husband and mother-in-law.

“In June 1992, two men came and took my father-in-law together with two other neighbours. I don’t know who they were, nor which one of them killed my father-in-law later,” said Zele.

The trial will resume on November 21.

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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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