News 20 Dec 12

Defence Asks for Not Guilty Verdict for Vares Rapes

Presenting its closing statement, the defence of Muhidin Basic has called for the acquital saying that the prosecution has failed to prove that the defendant is guilty of rape in Vares in 1994.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

The defence said that the protected witness A was the only “alleged direct witness” of the events, adding that “other evidence casts doubts on her reliability”.

“Basic did not rape person A, but she wanted to get a pension. She has succeeded in getting it, by using naïve Bakira Hasecic of the “Women, Victims of War’ Association. Also, she is trying to take revenge against the defendant, because she considers him responsible for her brother’s detention in the prison in Vares,” said Kerim Celik, Basic's lawyer.

The defence said that there was no doubt that the witness A had visited her brother, who was detained as member of the Croatian Defence Council in the “Sumarstvo” building  in Vares, on January 25, 1994, adding, however, that it was not true that the alleged rape took place.  

According to the defence, the prosecution witness, Elvedin Bisic, who was the commander of military police in Vares, said that the rape could not have happened in the building, where the prison was located, and that another witness for the prosecution, Alija Cizmo, the former Deputy Prison Manager, confirmed that.

The defence added that the person A mentioned her rape for the first time 16 years after the event and that the assement of her disability was negative at first, but, after she had shared her story with the “Women, Victims of War” Association, she received a different result.  

 The Defence said that it had proved that Basic was in Olovo on January 25, 1994, when, as alleged under the indictment, the rape was committed.

“I am calling for a verdict of release, because it has not even been proved that this crime took place,” Celik said.

Basic addressed the court as well and said that he had frequently had problems with person A.

Basic is on trial along with Mirsad Sijak. The prosecution previously asked for both men to be found guilty of raping the protected witness A.

The trial is due to continue on December 25, when Sijak's defence will present its closing statement.

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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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