News 30 Aug 12

Defence Asks for Acquittal in Srebrenica Trial

In its closing statement, Dragan Neskovic’s defence argued that the prosecution did not prove that he is guilty of crimes committed against Bosniaks in Srebrenica in July 1995.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

In her closing statement the defence attorney, Vesna Tupajic-Skiljevic, touched upon the statements given by two protected witnesses, whom the prosecution examined in an attempt to prove that Neskovic ordered the murder of two captives in Kravica, near Bratunac.
 
The two protected witnesses and Neskovic were members of the Jahorina Training Center with the Special Police Brigade of Republika Srpska.

The defence said that, after having entered into a plea bargain with the prosecution, the protected witnesses, NI104 and S115,  were sentenced to five years in prison each for having killed the captives.

The defence said that they have a motive to accuse Neskovic in order to get minimal imprisonment sentence.

“The Trial Chamber should not trust the part of their statements referring to Neskovic’s order. They incriminated the defendant in order to get minimal sentences. Besides these two witnesses, nobody mentioned that Neskovic allegedly gave them the following order: ‘Take them away and kill them!’,” Tupajic-Skiljevic said.

She said that the prosecution had failed to prove that Neskovic had command function in the Center and that the evidence indicated that he was a deserter, who was arrested in Serbia in June 1995, where he had fled in order to avoid participating in the war.

As she said, in their statements protected witnesses NI104 and S115 said that they did not consider Neskovic their superior.

“Neskovic did not have the authority to issue the order. Even if we assume that he issued that order, the question arises as to whether they had to carry it out. The witnesses were obliged to refuse an unlawful order,” the defence attorney said.

The defence said that it had not been proven that Neskovic participated, on July 13 and 14, 1995, in the capture of Bosniaks, who were then taken to the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica, where about 1,000 of them were killed, nor that he participated in the crimes in Potocari and the nearby village of Budak.

Neskovic is on trial along with Zoran Ilic, a former member of the Jahorina Training Center, for crimes in Srebrenica. In its closing statement the prosecution requested the court to sentence Neskovic and Ilic to a total of 32 years in prison.

Ilic’s defence is due to present its closing statement on September 5.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.

The Indictment Against Ratko Mladic

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002 and 2010, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic: From Promising Officer to Bloodstained Warlord

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

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