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Prosecution wraps up case against Stankovic

30. October 2006.00:00
Prosecutors offer closing arguments against former Bosnian Serb soldier accused of rape and torture in Foca municipality.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Prosecutor Vaso Marinkovic has told judges at Bosnia’s State court that he believes they have seen sufficient evidence to find the former Bosnian Serb soldier Radovan Stankovic guilty of crimes including rape and torture in Foca municipality during the war.

Stankovic, who was himself born in Foca municipality in 1969, is alleged to have been a member of the Miljevina battalion of the Bosnian Serb army.

Prosecutors say that between August and October 1992, he played a role in the detention of civilians at various sites in the area.

During that time, he is accused of participating in the torture of prisoners, as well as rapes and abuse of a number of young women and girls who were detained at a facility referred to as Karaman’s house, which was allegedly treated by soldiers as a brothel.

For several months now Stankovic has refused to communicate with either his defence attorney or the court. He also refused to be examined by a court-appointed neuropsychiatrist.

While most of the trial has been closed to the public, prosecutor Marinkovic said during his closing arguments that he believed the accused’s guilt had been proven in the course of testimony given by ten protected witnesses. He also asked the judges to take into account Stankovic’s obstructive behaviour when considering the case.

According to Marinkovic’s closing statement, protected witnesses have spoken during the trial about events at the facility known as Karaman’s house. He said their evidence showed that at least nine women had been held there, of whom the oldest was 24 and the youngest was 12.

Three witnesses testified that they personally were raped by Stankovic.

The court heard that the accused was responsible for the facility, along with Nedjo Samardzic, who has also been indicted by the State Court, and another individual named Nedjo Brcic. They were allegedly responsible for the girls,were personally given girls themselves, and also brought in other soldiers in order for them to rape the girls.

One witness spoke of a particular night when the detainees were forced to drink and were then ordered to take their clothes off in front of the soldiers. She said Stankovic then took her into a room, where she was made to watch him rape her sister, who has also appeared as a witness in the trial.

A witness also spoke of the 12-year-old girl who was detained at the facility,and who has not been found since the day when Stankovic allegedly came and took her away.

One of six counts in the indictment against Stankovic was dropped by prosecutors after a witness was unable to say with certainty that the accused had personally raped her.

Stankovic’s case was transferred to Sarajevo in September 2005 from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in The Hague, which was originally responsible for indicting him.

It was announced today that the defence will present its own closing arguments on November 7.

This post is also available in: Bosnian