Vlahovic: Faith in the ability to prove the crime
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Prosecutor Behaija Krnjic said that it was proven that a widespread and systematic attack took place in Sarajevo and that the accused, Veselin Vlahovic, or ˝Batko,˝ was aware of the attack and molested, raped, killed and committed other inhumane acts against non-Serb civilians between May and October 1992.
Krnjic said that, beginning in May 1992, Grbavica was under Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) control and that Vlahovic was a member of the special response team within the VRS. Most soldiers in this unit had a criminal background.
“Their head office was in the Digitron Bujo building in Grbavica. Vlahovic brought, kept closed and abused the mostly male residents of Grbavica in this building,” said the prosecutor.
According to the prosecution, a number of witnesses testified that they saw Vlahovic armed and in uniform while moving around Grbavica. The prosecutor stressed that Vlahovic`s defence had failed to disprove these witnesses’ claims.
“The defence focused on inconsistencies in the testimony of certain witnesses made during the investigation and trial. But, given the experience of victims, raped women in particular, it is hard to expect them to be entirely consistent in their statements, and I hope that the Court will have that in mind when making the judgment,” said Krnjic.
The prosecutor referred to the first 25 of 66 points of the indictment against Vlahovic that accuse him of murder, rape, beatings, and confiscation of money from Croatian and Bosniak residents in Grbavica, Kovacici and Vraca. He described the manner in which the witnesses presented traumatic experiences and reviewed the evidence that validated their stories.
One of the points of indictment included the rape of S-4. In her testimony S-4 said that Vlahovic took her a few times to a garage in a shopping centre in Grbavica where he tied her, raped her, and allowed other soldiers to rape her.
“First, he slashed her blouse with a knife.Then, he ordered her to undress and lie down on the mat. He tied her legs to the mat holders, laid down on her, and raped her. Then other soldiers did the same,” the prosecutor read part of the testimony of S-4.
While discussing the holding of men in Digitron Bujo, the prosecutor mentioned the testimony of protected witness S-47. S-47 said that he was taken out of his apartment and beaten by the accused and other soldiers until a pool of blood appeared under his body. Later they shoved his head into a toilet bowl filled with human excrement and forced him to eat.
“After that Vlahovic took him to Vraca and showed him the dead bodies on Trebevic, saying that if he does not turn in his money, he will also be one of them. Later they went into the apartment of the witness where he gave Vlahovic 38,000 marks, and gold,” said Krnjic.
The state prosecution will continue their closing statement on 27 December.