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Mikulic Awaits Jail-Camp Assault Verdict

31. March 2014.00:00
Former Bosnian Croat fighter Drazen Mikulic is being retried after his conviction for war crimes against prisoners at the Dretelj detention camp near Capljina in 1993 was overturned.

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The prosecution said in its closing arguments at the Sarajevo court on Monday that it had proved that Mikulic, along with other members of the Croatian Defence Council, ordered and participated in the abuse of prisoners at the Dretelj detention camp in the summer of 1993.

“Drazen Mikulic was the part of the most brutal group of guards, because of whom the word ‘guard’ gets a new meaning. Witnesses said that they experienced daily horrors from the young soldier with brown hair… Mikulic, who was the master of their lives,” said prosecutor Vladimir Simovic.

The prosecution claimed that after one prisoner, Enver Grebovic, was beaten by Mikulic and another guard, the defendant drank some of the blood that was spilled, saying: “I got drunk on the blood of Balija [a pejorative term for Muslims].”

“Although the witnesses were exposed to fear, they all agree on one thing, that the defendant committed the acts he is charged with,” said Simovic.

The prosecution said it had also proved that besides the defendant, there is only one Drazen Mikulic in the whole of Bosnia, and he was only three years old in 1993.

The defence argued however that the prosecution had failed to make a case to convict Mikulic, saying that many of the witnesses did not even know the defendant’s name.

“During the investigation no witness identified Mikulic, and only two of them recognised him,” said defence lawyer Davor Martinovic.

He also said that the prosecution described the perpetrator of the crimes as having brown hair, but in reality Mikulic has dark hair, and his height is diametrically opposite to the description given by the witnesses.

According to the defence, Mikulic could not have assaulted prisoner Grebovic because he was injured at the time and on sick leave.

“This indictment is a textbook example of wrongful charges,” said the lawyer, demanding an acquittal.

Mikulic was originally found guilty in September 2012 of participating in the beating of Grebovic and of ordering staff at the Dretelj camp to assault three other prisoners, but the verdict was quashed and he was sent for retrial.

The court will hand down the new verdict on April 10.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian