Following the presentation of the closing statements at the trial for genocide in Srebrenica, the pronouncement of a verdict against Zeljko Ivanovic is scheduled for April 24, 2012.
The defence for Ivanovic has asked the Bosnian court to acquit their client of all charges and release him from custody.
“Honourable Court, releasing a hundred guilty people is a smaller sin than sentencing one innocent man,” said Petko Pavlovic, the defence attorney for Ivanovic.
Ivanovic, former policeman in the 2nd Special Police Squad of the Interior Ministry of Republika Srpska, is charged with escorting a convoy of Bosniak men from Srebrenica to an agricultural cooperative’s warehouse in Kravica, in July 1995, and executing them there.
According to the charges, Ivanovic and other members of the Second Squad “stood in semi-circle” and opened fire at the prisoners in the warehouse. After the shooting, Ivanovic went behind the building in order to prevent survivors from fleeing through the back windows.
The defence claims that the prosecution “has not proved, beyond a reasonable doubt”, that Ivanovic was in the vicinity of the warehouse in Kravica on July 13, 1995, and that he participated in the killing of prisoners and the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks from Srebrenica.
“More than 15 prosecution witnesses said that they have not seen Zeljko Ivanovic in Srebrenica between July 9 to 19, 1995. Many witnesses confirmed that Ivanovic was a member of the Special Unit from Sekovici, but explicitly said that they did not see him in Kravica, when the prisoners were shot,” Pavlovic said.
The defence dedicated the most part of its closing statement to analyzing protected witness I3’s statement, saying that it was “incorrect, false and given under pressure”. The prosecution's witness I3 testified that Ivanovic was present in Kravica on July 13, 1995.
“This witness gave statements to the prosecution more than nine times. Only once did he mention Ivanovic as a participant in the murders committed in Kravica. On the other hand, we have statements given by all other witnesses, which bring his testimony into question,” said Pavlovic.
Ivanovic addressed the Chamber, saying that he was not in Srebrenica in July 1995 and that he was not the person who should be tried.
In its closing statement the prosecution called on the court to pronounce Ivanovic guilty and sentence him to long-term imprisonment.
This article is Premium Content. In order to gain access to it, please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber, or subscribe to one of our Premium Content packages.
Our Premium Service gives you access to exclusive content published on Balkan Insight, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Subscribe to Balkan Transitional Justice Premium or to Full Premium Access and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.
If you have trouble logging in or any other questions regarding you account, please contact us