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Zecevic et al: No Command Responsibility

15. June 2012.00:00
At the trial for crimes on Koricanske stijene, the Defence of Petar Civcic, former member of the Prijedor police, asked the court to free the defendant of all charges.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Lawyer Savan Zec said that the Bosnian State prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of his client for the murder of almost 200 men who were taken away from a convoy carrying 1200 non-Serb civilians from Prijedor to Travnik on August 21, 1992.
“It was not proven that he was one of the guards of the convoy, or that he took part in a joint criminal enterprise”, said the lawyer.

Five different members of the Prijedor police, who were in the convoy that day, according to lawyer Zec, said they did not see Civcic.

Civcic was accused that as a commander of one section of the intervention platoon of Prijedor police he was a part of the convoy which on August 21 took around 1,200 non-Serb civilians from Prijedor to Travnik, across the Vlasic Mountain.

According to the indictment, around 200 men at Vlasic were separated from the convoy, and then members of the Interventions Platoon and guard of the Trnopolje camp took them to Koricanske stijene and executed them. Civcic is charged with failing to undertake necessary measures to prevent the crime and punish the perpetrators.

For involvement in escorting the convoy, separating and killing the men, also on trial are Sasa Zecevic, Radoslav Knezevic, Marinko Ljepoja, members of the Interventions Platoon of the police station in Prijedor, as well as Branko Topola, who was a guard at the Trnopolje camp. All the accused are charged with robbing civilians from the convoy.

Civcic was charged with command responsibility, that as a commander of one of the Intervention Platoon units, he did not stop the crime or punish the perpatrators.

“The prosecution failed to show the command power of Civcic. They could not, because he had no power… Civicic could not make a decision, he only transmitted orders. He could not sanction and even if he was on the convoy he could not stop the crime”, said Zec, claiming that Civcic is charged with something that was impossible for him to comply with.

According to the Defence, the main leaders in the convoy were former commander Miroslav Paras, who died during the war, and Darko Mrdja, former police officer who was sentenced by The Hague tribunal to 17 years in prison for crimes in Koricanske stijene.

“Paras was an authority in the platoon and he did not transfer his authority to his subordinates,” said Zec.

Civcic’s defence will continue with its closing remarks on June 21.

This post is also available in: Bosnian