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The trial of Maktouf was renewed following a ruling by the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, which determined that the criminal code of the former Yugoslavia should have been applied in this case, considering the fact that it was more favourable for the indictee.
“The Strasbourg Court’s decision indicates that Maktouf was sentenced to five years in prison, which represents the minimal sentence prescribed under the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that he could have been sentenced to one year, which was the minimal sentence defined under the code of the former Yugoslavia, had the Yugoslav code been applied,” said Defence attorney Adil Lozo.
The Trial Chamber is due to render a verdict on Friday, July 11.
Evidence related to the duration of the sentence was presented at the hearing, because it was previously decided that the indictee’s guilt would not be considered at the retrial.
The Defence presented, as evidence, a few decisions, depriving Maktouf of Bosnian citizenship and rejecting his request for residence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so he then left the country in 2009 and settled in Malaysia. Testifying at this hearing, Maktouf mentioned that he had four children and that he had not been sentenced before.
“I served my sentence to the last day. They took my citizenship away and refused to allow me to reside in Bosnia. When I came out, they transferred me to an asylum camp, so I decided to leave BiH. I have been separated from my family since 2009,” Maktouf said.
The Prosecution of BiH did not have any pieces of evidence referring to the duration of the sentence. Prosecutor Slavica Terzic said that she stuck to her previously presented introductory and closing statements.
In 2006 Maktouf was pronounced guilty of having assisted Abu Dzafer and other members of the “El Mujaheed” Squad in kidnapping Croat civilians from Travnik, who were then transported to a camp in Orasac, where they were abused.
He was sentenced to five years in prison for having transported two of the five civilians, who were kidnapped in October 1993.
At this hearing the Defence requested that the real identity of Abu Dzafer, who testified against Maktouf, be mentioned in the Bosnian State Court’s verdict. According to Loza, Dzafer was the organiser and executor of the kidnapping.
“It is not moral to hide the identity of the person, who committed a war crime,” said Lozo.
Prosecutor Terzic agreed with this proposal, saying that she had determined that the mentioned person had never received immunity from the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, when Trial Chamber Chairwoman Minka Kreho asked if this person was granted protection measures, Terzic answered affirmatively.
“Protection measures can only be lifted with the consent of the person to whom they were granted, so you should contact the witness and obtain his written consent,” Kreho explained.