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Kos et al: Defence Teams Want More Favourable Law to Be Applied

15. February 2013.00:00
On the second day of the presentation of their appeals against a first instance verdict, under which four former members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad were sentenced to 142 years in prison for crimes in Srebrenica in July 1995, the Defence teams request the Court to quash the first instance verdict or order a retrial.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

All of the Defence attorneys said that the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SFRJ, which was in effect when the crimes were committed and is more favourable for the indictees, should be applied in this case instead of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Had the members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad refused to carry out the order, another unit would have come and executed it. Refusing to carry out the order would have not saved the prisoners,” said Slobodan Peric, Defence attorney of Stanko Kojic.

In June 2012 Kojic, Franc Kos, Vlastimir Golijan and Zoran Goronja, former members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad with the Main Headquarters of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, were pronounced guilty of having shot a group of about 800 men on Branjevo farm, Zvornik municipality on July 16, 1995.

Kojic was sentenced to 43, Kos and Goronja to 40 years each and Golijan to 19 years in prison.

The Defence teams consider that their clients might have only committed war crimes against prisoners of war, because “the persons, who were killed on Branjevo were aged between 16 and 60, which means that they were capable of serving the army”. The Defence said that they were told to shoot prisoners of war.

Kojic’s Defence attorneys said that, when deciding about the sentence for Kojic, the first instance Chamber only considered the aggravating circumstances, which included a statement by a witness, who said that Kojic bragged about the number of people he had killed and that he shot at the wounded people.

“I have never bragged about having killed somebody. The only thing I have always been saying is that I am not afraid of anything. I feel sorry for all of the killed people,” Kojic said.

Indictee Golijan expressed his repentance too, saying that he “regretted the things I did”.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Defence of Franc Kos presented their appeals against the first instance verdict on February 13.

The Prosecution claimed that the first instance Chamber wrongly determined that the indictees did not have a genocidal intention and that they received the order to shoot the prisoners only after having arrived on Branjevo.

The Defence of Kos requested the Court to reclassify the crime for which Kos was sentenced into war crimes against the civilian population or war crimes against prisoners of war. Also, it requested the Court to reduce the sentence against the indictee.

The Appellate Chamber will render a decision concerning the appeals filed by the Prosecution and Defence at a later stage.

This post is also available in: Bosnian