This post is also available in: Bosnian
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has filed a motion asking the Appellate Chamber of the State Court to revoke the first-instance verdict by which Sefik Alic was acquitted, and order a retrial.
The Defence called on the Court to “dismiss” the Prosecution’s appeal “in full”.
By the first-instance verdict, handed down on April 11, 2008, Alic was acquitted of war crimes against prisoners of war on the territory of Bosanska Krajina.
The State Prosecution charged Alic, as assistant commander of the “Hamze” Battalion with the Fifth Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with taking part in the abuse of captured members of the Serbian Krajina Army in August 1995, as well as with failing to launch an investigation or punish the perpetrators of the murder of four prisoners.
Explaining its appeal, the State Prosecution said it was contesting the first-instance verdict due to substantive violations of the Criminal Proceedings Code, as well as wrongly and incompletely determined facts.
“The appeal has explained all the mistakes in detail. We consider that mistakes were made in 30 parts of the verdict when facts were determined,” Prosecutor Jude Romano said, adding that a number of verdict explanations provided by the Trial Chamber were “deficient”.
“We consider as deficient the Court’s explanation indicating that the presence of high-ranking officials excludes the responsibility of lower-ranking officers. Any person in a chain of command is equally responsible. Such an approach is in contradiction with command responsibility principles,” Romano said.
The Prosecution further considers that some parts of the verdict are “contradictory and incomprehensible”, he said.
Defence attorney Senad Kreho said the verdict responded to all “the pitfalls contained in the indictment”, and called on the Trial Chamber to pay attention to a recording that was presented as evidence.
“There is no responsibility of Sefik Alic. This was explained in detail by an expert witness, who spoke about military responsibilities. The key responsible person is the Battalion commander,” Kreho said, wondering “why the Prosecution failed to prosecute deputy commander Hamdija Mustafic”.
Kreho added that by filing this indictment the Prosecution “wanted to transfer responsibility to Sefik Alic, although no grounds exist for that”.
The Trial Chamber will render a decision concerning the appeal at a later stage.