Vlahovic: First Defence Witness by the End of the Month

13. September 2012.10:57
The defence of Veselin ‘Batko’ Vlahovic, charged with war crimes in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici, will start presenting evidence on September 26. At a status conference before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vlahovic’s defence emphasised it would, according to the current plan, call 18 witnesses and two experts, as well as enter some documentation into evidence.

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The first witness will be Sasa Baricanin, who was sentenced in June to 18 years of prison for crimes committed in Sarajevo.

“All the witnesses we will call have direct knowledge about counts of the indictment. They are direct eyewitnesses. However, I must add in the course of investigation we found another twenty witnesses. I can already say that we will give up some witnesses and replace them with persons on the second list,” said the defence lawyer, Radivoje Lazarevic.

He announced that the defence would call some of the prosecution witnesses again.

“We found documentation linked to these witnesses. Namely, we have depositions that they gave before they came to the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In those depositions they say quite different things than during testimonies in this case, so we want to ask them why these differences exist,” said Lazarevic.

The prosecution charges Vlahovic with murder, rape, torture, beatings and robbery of Bosniak and Croat civilians in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici in 1992.

The trial started in April 2011, and the prosecution finished its evidence hearing in late August of this year.

Vlahovic has been remanded in custody since August 2010, when he was extradited to Bosnia from Spain.

At the status conference, Vlahovic’s lawyer said that the defence has problems in obtaining certain evidence.

Lazarevic pointed out that Television Vijesti from Podgorica, Montenegro, refuses to submit a report filmed in 2001 about Vlahovic without a direct court order, and that the police of the Sarajevo Canton has not responded to the request lodged a month ago for records made about the defendant by the Sarajevo police in 1995.

Zoran Bozic, the presiding judge of the Trial Chamber, said that the court will decide at a later date whether it would request this evidence.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian