Bogdanovic: Short Sentence or Unregarded Evidence

22. June 2012.11:45
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina calls for a longer imprisonment sentence for Velibor Bogdanovic, who is charged with war crimes in Mostar, while his Defence considers that he should either be acquitted of the charges or retried.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

In August last year Bogdanovic was sentenced to six years in prison for having committed rape and unlawful arrest in Mostar in 1993. The indictee failed to attend the pronouncement of the first instance verdict, so a warrant was issued against him.

At an appeal session held before the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina the Prosecution requested the Court to pronounce a longer sentence against Bogdanovic, saying that the first instance Chamber overvalued the mitigating circumstances.

“The Court determined that the indictee was 22 years old, when he committed the crime. It took his immaturity and ill-considered actions, the fact that he was a father of three and that he apologized to the injured party in 1995, into consideration. We think that this thing cannot be taken into consideration, because the indictee did not demonstrate repentance during the trial,” said State Prosecutor Remzija Smailagic.

She pointed out that the Court did not take the demonstrative wantonness and cruelty into consideration as aggravating circumstances, although they “have permanent consequences on the injured party’s mental health”.

The Defence filed its appeal due to substantive violations of the criminal proceedings and Criminal Code, as well as wrongly determined factual status and pronounced sentence.

“On the basis of which evidence did the Court determine that indictee Bogdanovic entered the apartment, along with other soldiers, searched the apartment and committed rape. It is indisputable that the indictee was not present in Mostar when he allegedly committed the crime,” said Nada Dalipagic, Defence attorney of the indictee.

She said that the first instance Chamber failed to explain why it did not regard the Defence’s evidence, indicating that Bogdanovic was not in the Mostar area but on the frontline.

Under the first instance verdict, Bogdanovic, former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, was found guilty of having come to a Bosniak couple’s apartment in Mostar, along with other armed soldiers, at night on May 25/26, 1993 and participated in the search and confiscation of personal belongings.

The Chamber further determined that, that same night he forced the wife to have sexual intercourse with him and unlawfully took her husband, in collaboration with other soldiers, to Heliodrom prison.

The Appellate Chamber, presided by judge Redzib Begic, will render a decision concerning the appeals at a later stage.

Marija Taušan

This post is also available in: Bosnian