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Bosnian Serbs Demand Acquittal Over Mosque Killings

24. February 2014.00:00
Lawyers for former Serb fighters accused of involvement in killing and burning Bosniak civilians at a village mosque near Prijedor in 1992 said their guilt had not been proved.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Defence lawyers for two of three former fighters on trial, Dragomir Soldat and Velemir Djuric, who are accused of shooting the Bosniaks in the village of Carakovo near Prijedor, said in their closing arguments on Monday that the men should be acquitted.

“Not one single piece of prosecution evidence suggesting that Soldat had or demonstrated command power over any other units but his unit, that he issued orders to any squad or that he knew the [other] indictees, was presented during the main trial,” said Soldat’s lawyer Savan Zec.

Soldat is accused of ordering the killings in Carakovo on July 23, 1992, while Djuric and Babic carried them out, taking Bosniak men from their homes in Carakovo and then shooting them dead outside the village mosque. The indictment also alleges that some of the men who survived the shooting died soon afterwards when Djuric and Babic set the mosque on fire.

According to the charges, Soldat was a military policeman with the 43rd Motorised Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, Djuric a member of the army’s Intelligence Centre, and Babic a reservist policeman in Prijedor.

Soldat’s lawyer said that the indictment was based on a statement given by witness Sefik Karupovic who stood to benefit if his client was jailed, he alleged.

“In 1993, Karupovic sold Dragomir Soldat’s house, but he has never given the money to Soldat. After having performed this fraud, Karupovic must have been aware of the fact that he would be criminally prosecuted later on, so he realised that he could get rid of Soldat,” the lawyer said.

Djuric’s lawyer said meanwhile that the prosecution had not proved that he was in Carakovo on July 23, 1992, adding that the defence had offered many pieces of evidence indicating that he was somewhere else that day.

Lawyer Branko Dakic also said that the prosecution had not proved that a widespread and systematic attack by Bosnian Serb forces was carried out in the Prijedor area, adding that the incident on July 23, 1992 was “an isolated event”.

Babic’s defence is due to present its closing argument on March 3.

Selma Učanbarlić

This post is also available in: Bosnian