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Defence Requests Macic’s Acquittal

13. June 2013.00:00
Presenting its appeal against a verdict under which Eso Macic was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes committed in the Konjic area, the Defence requests the Court to acquit the indictee, while the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina objects, requesting the Court to confirm the verdict.

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The Defence appealed due to violations of the criminal proceedings, violations of the Criminal Code and incompletely and wrongly determined factual status. It proposed to the Appellate Chamber to uphold the appeal, revise the verdict and acquit Macic of the charges.

“The Prosecution’s allegations have not been proven. The first instance verdict is unlawful. It contains several wrong allegations and interpretations of events,” Defence attorney Kadrija Kolic said.

On November 15 last year Macic, former member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, was found guilty of having committed war crimes against the Serb population from the Konjic area, who were detained in Celebici detention camp, during 1992.

The first instance Chamber determined that the indictee was responsible for the murder of Milorad Kuljanin, participation in the beating of Scepo Gotovac, who died afterwards, and three other cases of the physical abuse of prisoners.

Presenting his appeal, Kolic said that, during the pronouncement of the verdict it was said that three witnesses confirmed that Macic had taken Kuljanin out before he was killed, although none of those witnesses said that during the trial. The Defence attorney said that the Court determined that Kuljanin was shot on his head, neck and chest, although, as alleged by Kolic, a court expert and ballistic expert said, testifying at the trial, that the person was shot only once.

He commented on the identification of the indictee too, saying that it was conducted in an unlawful manner.

“The prosecution bodies did not conduct the identification of the indictee. The identification was conducted in the courtroom instead. One of the witnesses pointed to a servant of the Criminal Defence Section, saying that he was the indictee,” the Defence attorney said.

He said that, when pronouncing the verdict, the Court said that Macic participated in the beating of Scepo Gotovac and that Gotovac died after that, adding that it was not clear to him what these allegations were based on.

“During his testimony witness Branko Simikovic said that he did not recognise Eso Macic as the person who took Gotovac out of the hangar, while Mladen Vukalo said that Gotovac was beaten inside, not outside the hangar,” attorney Kolic said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not file an appeal, but Prosecutor Sanja Jukic said that the Defence’s appeal “does not allude to the real truth”, adding that no laws were violated by the first instance verdict.

“We consider that the Court confirmed these murders and inhumane treatment beyond reasonable doubt, and that the sentence was adequate,” Jukic said.
The Appellate Chamber will render a decision about the appeal at a later stage.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian