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Prosecutor Slavica Terzic made this decision after the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina had rejected an agreement between the Prosecution and Sasa Zecevic, who had previously stood trial together with Knezevic.
“In the case of Sasa Zecevic the Prosecutor was informed that the proposed sentence was not adequate,” Terzic said.
In June last year Zecevic and Knezevic were found guilty of having participated in the murder of about 200 Bosniak civilians at Koricanske stijene on August 21, 1992. They were sentenced to 23 years in prison each.
Knezevic concluded a guilt admission agreement at the beginning of the appellate process. Under the agreement, it was proposed to the Court to sentence him to between 12 and 15 years.
Prior to this hearing the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina rejected the agreement concluded between the Prosecution and Zecevic, explaining that the agreement was rejected because the proposed criminal sanction of between ten and 13 years was not adequate considering the gravity of the crime.
Besides Zecevic and Knezevic, Marinko Ljepoja was also sentenced to 23 years in prison under the first instance verdict, while Petar Civcic and Branko Topola were acquitted of all charges.
The Defence of indictee Knezevic said that it could not influence the Prosecution’s decision to cancel the agreement, so it did not express its opinion about it.
After having announced the reasons for withdrawing the agreement with Knezevic, Terzic presented her appeal against the first instance verdict.
The Prosecution appealed due to wrongly determined factual status and pronounced criminal and legal sanctions. The Prosecutor did not further explain the appeal, saying that all the written appeal contained all the details.
The Defence filed an appeal due to violations of the criminal proceedings, wrongly determined factual status and duration of sentence.
“The Prosecution has not provided the Chamber with evidence that Knezevic willingly participated in the operation and that he had information about it. (…) The main initiators of that crime were sentenced to a shorter time in prison than Knezevic,” said Defence attorney Milan Vujin.
The indictee, himself addressed the Chamber, saying that the first instance trial against him “abounded with numerous mistakes” and that he hoped that the Chamber would correct the mistakes and release him.
“I condemn the things that happened at Koricanske stijene. Had I contributed to them, I would not have needed a court. I would pass judgment upon myself,” Knezevic said.
He said that he was sentenced on the basis of false testimonies, adding that, as an innocent person, he did not want to accept to be sentenced to a long imprisonment.
The Appellate Chamber will render a decision concerning the appeals at a later stage.