Vlahovic: Prosecution Ends Evidence Hearing

22. August 2012.11:36
The prosecution completed its evidence hearing at the trial of Veselin “Batko” Vlahovic for crimes committed in Sarajevo, with reading out of the testimony of the protected witness S2. The protected witness S2 could not testify in person due to her ill health so the prosecution read her statement submitted to the Federal Police Administration in January last year.

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In her statement the witness recalled how on July 13,1992, two soldiers and a young man in plain clothes came to her apartment at Grbavica where she lived with her husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and his wife.

The soldiers took her husband and brother-in-law in for questioning, while the young man stayed with women. Soon afterwards one of the soldiers returned and took her, her sister-in-law and mother-in-law to another apartment, where the defendant Batko threatened them and asked for money and gold.

Their mother-in-law was taken to a room, from which, the records states, a stifled scream was heard, while Batko took the sister-in-law to another room, leavening the witness with Sasa Baricanin.

Baricanin was sentenced in June this year to 18 years of prison for crimes committed at Grbavica.

“I was scared and in shock, I thought I was going to be raped and Sasa told me I was lucky not to be in the same room as Batko. I knew that Batko and his people were raping women all over Grbavica,“ said the witness in her testimony.

Afterwards she was taken to another apartment where she was raped several times by Baricanin and another man.

“They were doing it as if it were the most natural thing in the world,” she said.

According to her testimony, the witness was then moved to yet another apartment, where she met women named Rada and Vesna, who told her to find someone who would help her leave Grbavica, because they had heard from Sasa that he wanted to kill her.

“With the help from my school friend Dimsa I left Grbavica on August 20, 1992,“ said S2.

The prosecution charges Vlahovic with having participated in the murder of several people in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici in 1992. He is also accused of participating in the abuse of Bosniak and Croat civilians, and of confiscating their money and other valuable possessions.

Following the completion of the prosecution’s evidence presentation, the defence is due to submit its evidence by September 1 and the prosecution will have its say about it at the status conference scheduled for September 12.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian