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State Prosecutor Sanja Jukic said, during the custody extension hearing, that the indictee had both the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and that there existed a real danger that he might seek to flee.
The Prosecutor pointed out that, while at liberty, Jukic might influence witnesses, most of whom live in Prozor, the indictee’s hometown.
Until his arrest Zeljko Jukic had a permanent job in Dubrovnik. His place of residence was registered in that town. He could easily flee from Bosnia and Herzegovina since he has the citizenship of the Republic of Croatia, the Prosecutor said, adding that the reasons for custody were clear and founded in this case.
Jukic, former member of Rama Brigade with the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, is charged with having participated, in collaboration with other members of HVO and the Croatian Army, HV, in the persecution of Bosniak civilians, murders and forcible disappearances from July to September 1993.
The indictment alleges that Jukic, who was accompanied by a group of HVO soldiers, participated in an attack against Bosniak civilians in Duge village, Prozor municipality on July 6, 1993, when he killed a 73-year old man, whom he saw in front of his family house.
Besides that, the State Prosecution alleges that Jukic participated, in collaboration with other HVO members, in the transportation of several hundreds of prisoners from Prozor to Dretelj detention camp, Capljina in mid-July 1993 and that he came, accompanied by Vinko Papak and another HVO member, to the secondary school building in Prozor on August 3, 1993 and took five detainees to Duska kosa dump. The detainees have allegedly been missing since.
In addition, Jukic is charged with having forced Bosniak civilians to leave Lapsunj village, Prozor municipality on August 28, 1993 and participated in the disappearance of Kerim Terzic, whose body has still not been found.
Zlatko Milovic, Defence attorney of the indictee, said that the Prosecution’s reason for the custody extension motion were exclusively based on assumptions, adding that the Prosecution’s explanation did not prove that indictee Jukic would flee or influence witnesses in any way.
Honourable Court, had my client wanted to flee, he would not have shown up in Bosnia and Herzegovina at all. We keep forgetting the fact that the indictee’s wife and three minor children live in Prozor and that he has never intended to leave the country, Milovic said, adding that the indictee would offer his family house as a guarantee that he would not flee and agree to be ordered into home detention during the course of the trial.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina objected to this proposal, adding that it would only agree with the custody measure.
Jukic has been held in custody since his arrest at the beginning of November 2011.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will render its decision about the custody extension motion at a later stage.D.E.