Local justice – Closing Arguments at the Trial for Vrbanja Crimes

20. October 2010.00:00
At the trial of Dalibor Ponorac and Marko Maric before the Banja Luka District Court, the prosecution and defence will present their closing statements on October 21.

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The second defendant Maric will first give a statement in his defence, which will mark the end of the presentation of evidence at the trial of the two men, who are charged with committing crimes in the village of Vrbanja, near Banja Luka.The trial began on January 29 this year.The District Prosecution alleges that Ponorac and Maric murdered the civilian Ahmet Karat and his wife Senija on December 29, 1993, in the village of Vrbanja. The indictment also alleges that following the two murders, Ponorac and Maric drove off in a car driven by Novak Sabic, and that, “several metres further“, Maric got out of the vehicle and used his handgun to shoot and kill Midhad Obralic, who was walking down the road.The Prosecution examined 12 witnesses, while the Defence examined seven.”One evening my husband came home and said that those fools [Ponorac and Maric] killed a man from his car,“ said witness Sandra Sabic, wife of Novak Sabic, in her testimony for the prosecution.

Vernes Memic, who was 13 at the time, said he saw the murder of Obralic, and that he “distrinctly remembers what happened.“”One person with a hat on his head came out from the passenger’s side of the car and shot and killed Obralic who was walking by,“ said Memic.Vladimir Raosavljevic, Ponorac’s Defence attorney, submitted as one of the key pieces of evidence a document containing medical results from Doctor Franjo Matijevic, which says that the defendant visited the doctor on December 29, 1993, and that he could not have been at the scene of the crime.The Prosecutor then called in Ljubomir Gogic, an expert graphologist, who said that the document containing the medical results was not written on the day the Defence claimed.”By examining the paper and ink, I have no doubt in my finding that the document was not written on that date, but considerably later,“ said Gogic, and his findings were supported by Muhidin Rasidovic, a graphologist called in by the Trial Chamber.Ponorac’s Defence also examined Milan Jovanovic and Dragan Panic, who attempted to offer an alibi for the defendant. They claimed that in late December 1993, Ponorac was in Arandjelovac in Serbia.”I remember that on New Year’s Eve of 1993, Ponorac assisted me in getting my car out of the ditch. It was certainly Ponorac, and I remember the date clearly, because not long after that I met my present wife,“ said Jovanovic, who lives in Arandjelovac.Ponorac and Maric were arrested in December last year and have been remanded in custody ever since.

Džana Brkanić

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