Vukovic and Tomic: Trial starts on December 4

27. November 2008.13:08
In the first week of December another trial for genocide in Srebrenica is due to start before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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At a status conference, held before the State Court, it was decided that the trial of Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic would commence on December 4. They are charged with having participated in the genocide committed in Srebrenica in 1995. The State Prosecution said that it would need 37 days to present its evidence.

“The Prosecution will need 22 days for examination of witnesses. We will need 15 days for presentation of transcripts of testimonies and material evidence. However, if we do not read them in the courtroom, we shall only need a day or a few hours for their presentation,” Prosecutor Ibro Bulic said.

Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic are charged, as members of the Second Special Police Squad from Sekovici, which was part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, with having participated in genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The two men are charged with having participated in murder of more than 1,000 Srebrenica residents in Kravica village on July 13, 1995.

As indicated by Bulic, a certain number of witnesses, who will be examined by the Prosecution, already testified before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Kravica case. He therefore suggested that transcripts of their testimonies be accepted as evidence, instead of their re-examination.

“We propose to the Court not to invite the witnesses, who already testified at the trial for Kravica case, to testify again concerning the same event and same facts, because they already gave their statements and these Defence attorneys cross examined them on that occasions. We consider that this would contribute to efficiency and time saving,” Bulic said.

In July 2008 the State Court rendered a first instance decision in the Kravica case, sentencing seven former policemen to a total of 284 years’ imprisonment for having participated in genocide against Srebrenica residents, while four indictees were acquitted of all charges.

The Prosecution said that, in the upcoming period it would examine, as witnesses against Vukovic and Tomic, Petar Mitrovic, who was sentenced by the first instance verdict pronounced by the State Court in Kravica case to 38 years’ imprisonment, and Milovan Matic and Miladin Stevanovic, who were acquitted of the charges for participating in genocide by the same verdict.

The Defence of Vukovic and Tomic objected the Prosecution’s proposal pertaining to the introduction of transcripts from the Kravica case trial.

“The Prosecutor refers to the Kravica case often. It is true that me and Petko Pavlovic (author’s note: Tomic’s Defence attorney) represented the indictees in that case. I am familiar with most pieces of evidence, but this is not about our fate. Our clients expect us to act in such a way as to protect their rights as much as possible,” Radivoje Lazarevic, Defence attorney of Vukovic, said.

The Prosecution proposed the Trial Chamber to admit certain facts, determined in the verdicts against Radislav Krstic, Vidoje Blagojevic, as well as the Kravica case, in order to “shorten the examination of witnesses”. The Trial Chamber will render its decision at a later stage.

The Hague Tribunal sentenced Krstic to 35 years’ imprisonment and Blagojevic to 15 years for crimes committed in Srebrenica.

The Defence of Vukovic and Tomic filed a Trial Chamber and Prosecutor disqualification motion earlier on, due to their engagement in other cases pertaining to Srebrenica, but, as indicated by Trial Chamber Chairman Senadin Bektasevic, their motion was rejected.

This post is also available in: Bosnian