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Short Sentence or Conviction of an Innocent Man

22. May 2014.00:00
The Federal Prosecution requests the third instance Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Federation of BiH to sentence Ivan Koler to a longer imprisonment sentence, while the Defence calls for a verdict of release, claiming that “an absolutely innocent man” was sentenced.

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The Federal Prosecution requests the third instance Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Federation of BiH to sentence Ivan Koler to a longer imprisonment sentence, while the Defence calls for a verdict of release, claiming that “an absolutely innocent man” was sentenced.

The Supreme Court of FBiH sentenced Ivan Koler, in March 2013, to a year-and-a-half in prison for the inhumane treatment of members of the former Yugoslav National Army, JNA, in the District Military Prison in Tuzla in June and July 1992.   

Considering the fact that the Tuzla Cantonal Court acquitted Koler of charges in 2011, the parties had the right to appeal with the third instance Chamber following the second instance verdict of conviction.  

“The Federal Prosecution considers that Ivan Koler should be sentenced to a longer imprisonment sentence,” said Prosecutor Nermina Mutevelic.

Defence attorney Suad Kumric points out that the verdict of conviction has not undoubtedly determined the factual status and that the Court accepted the injured parties’ statements in an uncritical manner.

“The Defence considers all seven statements by the injured parties unacceptable… All they said about the indictee’s torture makes no sense,” said Kumric.

As an example, he mentioned that two of the injured parties said that indictee Koler forced them to have sexual intercourse, adding that they mentioned it for the first time at the trial in Tuzla, while they had never mentioned it before.

According to him, it is illogical to accept the statement of a witness who said that the indictee hit him on his wound from which his intestines were coming out. Kumric considers that such a patient would not have been transferred from hospital to prison.

The Defence mentioned an attempt to make balance between crimes committed in Tuzla as a possible motive of the seven witnesses to falsely accuse Koler.    

Under the second instance verdict, Koler was found guilty of having beaten wounded prisoners on several occasions with his hands, baton and toilet plunger, hit them on their wounds, forced them to lick sanitary facilities and threatened them by saying that they would be shot.

The indictee failed to appear at the today’s hearing, because, as said by the Defence attorney, he has been in a mental crisis after having been sentenced.  
 
The third instance Chamber will render a final decision at a later stage.

Marija Taušan


This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)