Vukovic and Tomic: Long standing prison sentence requested
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The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina requested from the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to sentence Vukovic and Tomic to long standing prison terms close to the maximum sentence under the law for acts that the defendant were charged with.
Vukovics Defence said that the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to prove that the defendant committed the acts he was charged with and proposed that the defendant be cleared of all charges.
The reading of the first degree verdict led me to thinking that the first instance Chamber did not take into consideration evidence from the Defence. I hope that the Appellate Chamber would take into consideration the evidence of the Defence, as well as all the others, and that they wont allow lies to be accepted before this Chamber. It would be an injustice, not only to me, but to families of the plaintiffs with whom I sympathise, said Vukovic.
In April last year Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed a first-degree verdict according to which Vukovic and Tomic took part in the murder of around 1,000 captured men of Bosniak ethnicity in the agricultural collective in Kravica, on July 13, 1995.
According to the first degree verdict, Vukovic and Tomic, former members of the Second Squad of Special Police with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republika Srpska from Sekovici, were sentenced to 31 years in prison.
Having taken into consideration complaints from the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Defences of the defendants, the Appellate Chamber in June this year cancelled the first degree verdict and ordered a retrial.
In its closing argument, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that the defendants took part in the murder of around 1,000 men in Kravica in July 1995 and that without people such as the defendants the genocide would not have been carried out.
Without direct participation of perpetrators of mass executions, the architects of the genocide would not have succeeded. Without people such as the defendants, the genocide could not have been carried out. ( ) The defendants had the opportunity to distance themselves, but they chose to take part in the destruction of a group of Bosniaks, said Ibro Bulic, prosecutor for the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasised that the first degree verdict was mostly based on the testimony from witness D5, and that the Defence tried to challenge the witnesss credibility.
The testimony by witness D5 should be examined critically and tied in with other pieces of evidence. It would be wrong to establish responsibility of my defendant solely on testimony from D5, said Radivoje Lazarevic, lawyer of defendant Vukovic.
The prosecution demanded that the defendants remain in custody.
The Defence will present its closing arguments on December 22 this year.S.U.