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Karajic: Retrial Begins

10. May 2011.00:00
The retrial of Suljo Karajic, who is charged with crimes committed in the Bihac area, began today before the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the presentation of statements given by witnesses at the first instance trial.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

At the beginning of the hearing, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that it would not read the indictment or present its introductory arguments, adding that “nothing has changed” from the first instance trial.

“The Prosecution abides by the original indictment in full. For that reason, we consider that it is not necessary to present new introductory arguments or new pieces of evidence,” State Prosecutor Vesna Ilic said.

The Defence of indictee Karajic also refused to present introductory arguments. The Appellate Chamber then began playing the witness statements given at the first instance trial. A statement given by witness Omer Velagic was heard at this hearing. Testifying in defence of Karajic in August 2009, the witness said that he heard “nothing but good things” about him.

Under a first instance verdict, pronounced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 13, 2010, Suljo Karajic, known as Hodza, was found guilty, as Commander of the Second Military Police Squad with the 505th Knights Motorized Brigade of the Fifth Corps with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, of war crimes against the civilian population in the Bihac area.

Under the verdict, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The first instance verdict says that from August 1994 to February 1995, Karajic committed, assisted in the commission of and ordered his subordinate military policemen to commit murders, cause physical and mental suffering, inhumane treatment and suffering and injuries to civilians and prisoners of war from the National Defence of the Western Bosnia Autonomous Region.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina appealed the verdict in February 2011, saying that the facts were wrongly and incompletely determined. It also appealed the sentence pronounced under the verdict. The Defence appealed over violations of the criminal proceedings and criminal law provisions, wrongly and incompletely determined facts and the sentence, calling on the Court to acquit the indictee or order a shorter sentence.

Upholding the appeals filed by the Prosecution and Defence, in March 2011 the Appellate Chamber revoked the first instance verdict and ordered a retrial.

The trial is due to continue on May 24, when the Court will continue reexamining witness statements.


This post is also available in: Bosnian