News 06 Mar 12

Kalinovik Trial: Closing Arguments

At the trial of four Bosnian Serbs charged with crimes in Kalinovik, the defence for one of the accused argued that he did not commit a criminal act but a good deed.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosko Cegar, defence laywer for Milan Peric, requested the Trial Chamber to acquit the defendant of all charges.

Cegar said that Peric was ordered to drive the detained civilians from the Kalinovik municipal building to ‘Milan Radojevic’ primary school on June 25, 1992.

"He did not take part in an attack. He did what he was told and what he thought was good. He hid people from individuals on a rampage. Peric is a fair and honest man, he could not have done a criminal act,” said lawyer Cegar.

Along with Peric, the prosecution charged Spasoje Doder, Predrag Terzic and Aleksandar Cerovina with assisting the expulsion of Bosniaks from the municipality of Kalinovik between June and September 1992.

The prosecution believes that the defendants, in their capacity as policemen in Kalinovik, illegally arrested civilians and took them to detention centres, where most of the prisoners were killed.

In its closing arguments, presented on February 28, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina asked the court to find Peric, Doder, Terzic and Cerovina guilty of illegal arrests.

Analysing witness testimonies about Peric’s involvement in the taking of civilians from the Kalinovik village of Jelasca on June 25, 1992, the lawyer said these statements could not be trusted.

Cegar asked the Trial Chamber to accept statements from the defence witnesses because they were not disputed.

Speaking about the events from August 1, 1992, in the village of Jelasca, when, according to the indictment, several women, two elderly people and a child were arrested, lawyer Cegar claimed that Peric had to take the civilians with him because he was fired at.

"It was about protecting witnesses and not an arrest, as the indictment claims,” said the lawyer.

The trial is scheduled to resume on March 13, 2012, when the defence teams for the rest of the accused will present closing arguments.

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Background

Timeline: Cases for War Crimes in Pec Villages

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

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