Karajic: Murders Committed in “Cruel and Brutal Manner”

31. October 2011.14:46
Presenting its closing statement at the retrial for crimes in the Bihac area, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina says that indictee Suljo Karajic is responsible for the crimes, calling on the Appellate Chamber to pronounce a sentence in accordance with the law, in other words, imprisonment longer than 18 years.

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The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina called on the Appellate Chamber to pronounce Karajic guilty, adding that, on the basis of presented pieces of evidence, it could “easily be concluded” that the indictee committed war crimes against civilians.

“Civilians, former members of civil protection units, spoke about the indictee’s crimes. Those men were not members of armed forces, so Karajic should have treated them as civilians, not as members of the Army,” State Prosecutor Vesna Ilic explained.

Under a first instance verdict pronounced in April 2010, Karajic, former member of the Fifth Corps with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, was sentenced for murders, inhumane treatment, unlawful detention and causing of bodily injuries to civilians and former members of the National Defence of the Western Bosnia Autonomous Region, ND WBAR.

The indictment was found guilty of seven, out of ten counts contained in the indictment. Among other things, he was pronounced guilty of the murder of Amir Karajic, known as Kolac, on August 4, 1994 and the murder of another member of the ND WBAR, whom he took out of the detention unit of the Police Station in Vrnograc, Velika Kladusa municipality and shot at him in
December that same year.

Under the first instance verdict Karajic was sentenced for having “committed unfounded arrests and ordered his subordinates to arrest civilians, who, as he supposed, supported the WBAR idea”, and take them to the school building in Todorovska Slapnica, where some of them were killed, while others were subjected to inhumane treatment and torture, in December 1994.

After the Prosecution and Defence had filed appeals, the Appellate Chamber revoked the first instance verdict and ordered a retrial, which began in May 2011.

Presenting his closing statement, Ilic said that no mitigating circumstances existed in this case, adding that the persons, who, in indictee’s opinion only, supported the Western Bosnia Autonomous Region idea or protected and supported members of the National Defence were the victims of these crimes.

The Western Bosnia Autonomous Region, WBAR and its National Defence, ND, were founded by Fikret Abdic, former member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in September 1993. It existed until 1995. Abdic was sentenced in Croatia to 15 years’ imprisonment for crimes during the conflict with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Analysing the ten counts contained in this indictment, the Prosecution said that there was no doubt that Karajic committed the murders of Amir Karajic, Mujo Pehlic, Rasim Dizdarevic, Sefik Abdic, Hasib Toric, Fikret Husidic and Hajrudin Pilipovic “in a cruel and brutal manner”.

The Prosecution specifically mentioned Karajic’s role in November and December 1994, saying that there was no doubt that the indictee was indeed Commander of the Second Military Police Squad with the 505th Knights Motorised Brigade in the mentioned period of time.

The Defence of the indictee is due to present its closing statement at the next hearing scheduled for November 11, 2011.

Dragana Erjavec

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