Uncategorized @bs

Memic et al: Exemption of Prosecutor Requested

4. September 2012.00:00
The examination of a protected State Prosecution witness at the trial for crimes in Trusina, near Konjic was interrupted when the Defence of indictee Senad Hakalovic requested exemption of Prosecutor Vesna Budimir.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

During the cross-examination Kadrija Kolic, Defence attorney of Hakalovic, read a part of a statement given by protected witness O, former member of “Zulfikar” Squad with the Main Command Headquarters of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, during the State Prosecution’s investigation in 2009.

According to the Defence attorney, the statement says that the witness wanted to be granted immunity for participation in the attack on Trusina on April 16, 1993, when Croat civilians and members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO were killed. Witness O denied these allegations, saying that the immunity request referred to “a protected witness status and not to protection from criminal prosecution”.

Kolic explained that Prosecutor Budimir must have provided the Chief State Prosecutor with the protected witness’ proposal, requesting immunity from criminal persecution.

Acting in accordance with the Law on Criminal Proceedings of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Trial Chamber discontinued the trial until the State Prosecution’s Board of Prosecutors had reached a decision concerning the request for exemption of Prosecutor Budimir. Vasvija Vidovic, Defence attorney of indictee Nihad Bojadzic, acceded to the request. Prosecutor Budimir said that nobody had been granted immunity from criminal prosecution in relation to the events that took place in Trusina.

Prior to the interruption of the hearing, protected witness O, who testified from a separate cabin with his voice being altered, said that he saw that Nedzad Hodzic, Edin Dzeko and Rasema Handanovic, his former comrades from the “Zulfikar” Squad, participated in the shooting of men in Trusina. He said that up to ten men, most of whom were dressed in civil suits, were lined against a stable or some other building.

“They were turned away from us. People began saying that they would be shot, but I do not know who said that. A blonde guy started running away. He was killed. Then they began shooting at the lined men. I saw that Nedzad, Zolja and Dzeko, and probably some other people, were shooting. Zolja then shot them in their heads in order to make sure that they were dead,” protected witness O said.

The witness said that indictee Dzevad Salcin guarded a second group of captured soldiers, so they would not flee or “do something”. He said that he did not see indictee Mensur Memic during the attack on Trusina.

Memic, Salcin, Hakalovic, Hodzic, Nihad Bojadzic and Zulfikar Alispago are on trial for the attack on Trusina in which 18 civilians and four HVO members were killed.

Bojadzic, former Deputy Commander of “Zulfikar” Squad, is charged with having commanded the attack on Trusina from a nearby hill. Alispago, former Commander of the Squad, is charged with having failed to punish his subordinates, who participated in the shooting.

The indictment alleges that Memic, Salcin and Hodzic were members of the “Zulfikar” Squad and Hakalovic was a member of the “Neretvica” Brigade of ABiH.

Dzeko is on trial, as part of a separate case, for crimes committed in Trusina and Jablanica. After having admitted guilt for participating in the shooting of civilians and soldiers in Gaj hamlet, Handanovic was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison in late April 2012.

The witness said that, before going to the Konjic area, members of the “Zulfikar” Squad were lined up in Bradina, where indictee Alispago said that “nobody should do any harm to civilians”. As he said, he arrived in a school building in Parsovici village, near Trusina together with about 20 other members of the Squad.

“When we were lined up in the school corridor, Nihad said that our operations should target Trusina village and that our goal was to liberate the area. He said that we would be assigned guides, members of the 45th Brigade. He was the chief commander of that direction,” the witness said.

The protected witness said that, while they were lined up, a soldier asked Bojadzic: “What are we going to do? How are we going to do it?” and that he said: “Kill them”.

This witness said that, prior to being arrested in 2009, Bojadzic called him on the phone and threatened him by saying that he would kill his wife and children, and then him too. Defence attorney Vidovic said that these allegations were not true and requested that an investigation of the threat allegations be opened.

This post is also available in: Bosnian