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Gasal and Kukavica Plead Not Guilty

27. September 2007.00:00
Duo charged with war crimes against Croats in Bugojno area deny the charges in the indictment they are facing.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Nisvet Gasal and Musajb Kukavica, charged with war crimes against civilians committed on the territory of Bugojno, have pleaded not guilty to all counts contained in the indictment.

The crimes described in the indictment, which was confirmed on 19 September 2007, were committed in the course of the armed conflict between the Army of BiH – to which the indictees belonged – and the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in 1993 and 1994.

The Prosecution of BiH considers that Gasal was manager of the detention camp situated within ‘Iskra’ football stadium in Bugojno, while Kukavica was its security commander.

Gasal and Kukavica are accused of responsibility, from September 1993 to March 1994, for the functioning of ‘Iskra’ detention camp, in which about 300 Croats were held in inhumane conditions. The detainees were deprived of food and medical assistance, they stayed in premises that did not have the necessary conditions and they performed forced labour in Bugojno area or the front lines where they were used as a human shield. Some of them were killed and others wounded while performing forced labour.

The two indictees are charged with having failed, “in their capacity as superior and responsible persons”, to prevent and punish the perpetrators of the crimes committed against the civilians in Bugojno.

The prosecution has explained that the detainees in the camp included civilians and HVO members. The latter were not in active military service at the time referred to by the indictment, and therefore they should be considered as civilians.

Following the plea hearing, Nisvet Gasal’s Defence attorney has announced that he will file a complaint against the indictment.

Gasal and Kukavica were arrested in March and April this year. On 19 September, the Court of BiH rendered a decision extending their custody “until the completion of the main trial”, which should not exceed three years.

This post is also available in: Bosnian