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Rajko and Ranko Vukovic: Retrial Continues

23. April 2009.00:00
At the retrial for crimes committed in Podkolun village, Foca Municipality, the Appellate Chamber listens to Defence witness statements.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

 At the retrial before the Appeals Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chamber continued listening to statements for the Defence from Cvijeta Stanic, indictees Ranko and Rajko Vukovic, their mother Kosa, and Nedo Todorovic.

The State Prosecution charges the Vukovic brothers, as members of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Army, with killing Avdija Hukara and Mejra Bekrija, acting together with Ranko and Blagoje Golubovic, in Podkolun village in late May 1992. Ranko Vukovic is also charged with the rape of one female in Miljevina village, Foca Municipality, in July 1992.

In February 2008 a first-instance verdict was pronounced against the Vukovic brothers, finding them guilty and sentencing each of them to 12 years’ imprisonment for the murder. By the same verdict Ranko Vukovic was acquitted of the rape charge.

Seven months later, upholding the appeal filed by the Defence, the Appeals Chamber revoked the first-instance verdict and ordered a retrial.

During the first-instance trial, a Defence witness appeared in court on January 9, 2008, claiming that the Vukovic brothers were not among “the Serb soldiers who went to the neighbouring village of Podkolun”.

“About fifteen Serb soldiers passed by my house. They went to Podkolun. We heard shooting. An hour and a half or two hours later they came back. I did not see the Vukovic or Golubovic brothers among them. I had known the Vukovic brothers since we were kids. I did not hear anybody mention that they did any bad things in the course of the war,” the witness said.

The Chamber then listened to a recording of Ranko Vukovic’s testimony. He described the indictment against him as “nothing but a lie and a fabrication”.

“I have never been to Podkolun village. I did not go there before, during or after the war,” Ranko Vukovic said.

Rajko Vukovic told the Court that up to May 22, 1992 he attended the secondary school in Foca, adding that, after having received a call, he joined the army in July 1992.

“As far as Podkolun village is concerned, I never went there during the course of the war,” the second indictee said, adding that “the indictment had absolutely no connection to me or my brother”.

The next hearing is due to take place on April 24, 2009, when the Appeals Chamber will continue listening to witness statements.

The retrial began on April 1.

This post is also available in: Bosnian