Pelemis and Peric: Not an Evil Man

15. September 2011.11:44
In its closing statement the Defence of Momir Pelemis says that the Prosecution has not proved the indictee's guilt, calling on the Court to acquit him of the charges that he committed genocide in Srebrenica.

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“Both I and my client deeply sympathise with the families of the killed people. Pelemis is not an evil man. He does not have passionate nationalistic feelings. He was assigned to the First Battalion, but he had no powers. He spent a long time on sick leave. He came there after having been asked by the Commander to do so. Had he run away, his family would have
suffered, while he would have been called a deserter,” Defence attorney Milos Peric said.

The Defence attorney said that, had Pelemis hated other ethnic groups, he “would not have stayed in Tuzla almost until the end of the war”.

Pelemis and Slavko Peric are on trial for the murder of about 1,500 Bosniak captives in Pilica village, Zvornik municipality.

According to the charges, Pelimis, Deputy Commander of the First Battalion with the Zvornik Brigade, ordered Peric, Assistant Commander for Security, to deploy soldiers to the school building in Kula and the Cultural Centre in order to guard prisoners.

“Pelemis was on sick leave until July 6. He had not had any contact with the Battalion Command. There is no evidence showing that he found out about the intention to commit genocide. On July 14 he heard for the first time that between 100 and 200 prisoners would be brought to the school building before being exchanged,” Peric said.

He said that some members of the First Battalion, who were present near the school building, were not under Pelemis’ command.

“Could Pelemis protect the prisoners? He had been informed that they would be exchanged. He was not present at that location. He did not have information about the executions. He had no authority over members of other units, who participated in it under the command of higher ranking officers,” the Defence attorney said.

Commenting on the allegations that Pelemis participated in a widespread and systematic attack against the Bosniak population, Peric said that the attack was targeted against members of the 28th Division with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, who “misused the protected zone” and conducted attacks against Serbian forces.

The Defence rejected the qualification of the crime charged upon Pelemis as genocide, adding that no pieces of evidence had been presented proving the indictee’s genocidal intentions.

“The indictment is full of contradictory and illogical statements, as well as megalomania. The Prosecutor’s conclusions about key things are nothing but assumptions. Nobody knew that the prisoners would be executed. Those who executed them were not his subordinates,” the Defence attorney said.

The trial is due to continue on September 20, when Pelemis will address the Trial Chamber and the Defence of indictee Peric present its closing statement.

Marija Taušan

This post is also available in: Bosnian