Local Justice: Closing Arguments for Vrbanja Crimes Presented

27. October 2010.00:00
In its closing arguments before the District Court in Banja Luka, the Prosecution urged the Court to hand down prison sentences against Dalibor Ponorac and Marko Maric, charged with war crimes in Vrbanja, while the Defence called for acquittal.

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District Prosecutor Branko Mitrovic said the Prosecution had proved with its evidence and witnesses statements that the indictees committed the crimes for which they are charged.

“We have proved, beyond a doubt, with the testimonies and evidence, that they committed the crime.

“This statement is further supported by eye-witnesses to these events and expert witnesses who confirmed that the physician’s report, which was the key evidence presented by the first indictee’s Defence, was not written on the date claimed, but was rather certainly written this year,” Mitrovic said.

The Prosecutor called on the Court to pronounce “long imprisonment sentences”, while the Defence teams called for the indictees to be acquitted and released.

The indictment alleges that on December 29, 1993, Ponorac and Maric killed Ahmet Karat and his wife Senija, and Maric then killed Midhat Obralic.

Vladimir Raosavljevic, Defence attorney for indictee Ponorac, said there were “no grounds” for filing the indictment.

“The Prosecution has not proved that my client Ponorac committed this crime. Not one piece of evidence links him with the crime scene. The crime scene inspection report alleges that Midhad Obralic was killed after having been shot by a rifle and not a revolver, as stated by Prosecution witnesses.

“Besides that, one of the key pieces of evidence was the report made by physician Franjo Matijevic and his testimony, during which he confirmed that the report was written on the date printed on the paper,” Raosavljevic said.

During the course of the presentation of evidence, Ponorac’s Defence introduced Franjo Matijevic’s medical report saying that the indictee paid a visit to his doctor on December 29, 1993, so he could not have been present at the crime scene. The Prosecution disputed the date on which the report was written.

Milan Ljubojevic, Defence attorney for Maric, presented his closing arguments on Tuesday as well, saying the Prosecution had not proved that the indictees participated in the murders.

“I hope the Court will not take my client’s past and the fact that he had served his sentence for a previously committed murder into consideration.

“Due to the lack of evidence, the Prosecution kept relying on this fact and the statements given by suspicious witnesses, to say the least,” Ljubojevic said.

The verdict is due to be pronounced on Friday, October 29.


Džana Brkanić

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