News 13 Sep 12

Prosecution Wants Severe Punishment for War Rapes

In its closing argument the prosecution asked that a Bosniak who fought for the Bosnian Serb army be sentenced for the crime against humanity for rapes of underage Bosniak girls in 1992 and 1993.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

The prosecutor, Behajija Krnjic, said that victim statements indicated that Jasko Gazdic raped 12-year old witness A, as well as witnesses B, C, D, and that he held 12-year old witness BA in sexual slavery and physically abused witness E.

“There are no extenuating circumstances for the accused, but there is a whole series of aggravating ones. The punishment must be harsher, because the accused directed his actions to powerless and unprotected females, especially girls aged 12,” emphasised Krnjic.

He added that the witnesses A and B, a daughter and mother, had to watch the accused rape the other, and the witness A said it was the hardest thing on her.

The prosecutor said that the witness A was raped nine times in ten days, and that the defendant raped her twice, while witness D was raped by six persons in one day.

The prosecution charged Gazdic with raping several Bosniak females locked up in the Partizan sports hall in Foca between early April 1992 and late March 1993.

The indictment specified that Gazdic came to apartments and the Partizan sports hall, where civilians were held captive, and that on several occasions he took females away, among them underage girls.

In his closing argument the prosecutor said that by accepting the testimonies from the prosecution witnesses, the Trial Chamber will be able to make a just decision.

He said that the Trial Chamber should have in mind that the crimes were committed long time ago, and that it is unrealistic to expect the victims to remember some dates and other less important facts, but that the testimonies on important facts are truthful.

“Although victims said that the defendant did not torture them or hit them during rape, there was no consent from the victims... The conclusion of responsibility for criminal offence can be made from the defendant’s testimony alone, because he knew all the plaintiffs and victims and knew what was happening to them,” said Krnjic.

The defence will have its closing argument on October 3.

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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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