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‘Intimidated’ Bosnia Witness Fined 10,000 Euro

8. September 2014.00:00
A protected witness was fined by the Bosnian court because he refused to testify at Serb fighter Dragan Sekaric's war crimes trial, claiming he was attacked and his family was not safe.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The court on Monday ordered the prosecution witness codenamed S-4 to pay a fine of 20,000 Bosnian marks (10,000 euro) after he rejected additional protection measures and refused to take the stand at Sekaric’s trial, alleging intimidation.

“The trial chamber examined this witness, who said that his safety and the safety of his family were compromised, which is the reason he does not want to testify,” said presiding judge Mira Smajlovic.

She said that trial chamber offered additional protection – offering the witness the opportunity to testify from another room, to remove the defendant from the courtroom, to protect his identity and to exclude the public from the hearing. But S-4 still refused to testify because he said he was afraid.

The prosecution submitted evidence that the witness had been attacked during the summer. An investigation is ongoing and the suspected has been identified, the prosecutor said.

However the court concluded that the reasons the witness gave for not testifying were inadequate.

“The trial chamber decided to fine this witness 20,000 marks. We will see after the decision is delivered whether he will testify,” Smajlovic said.

The defence said meanwhile that the attack on the witness had nothing to do with the defendant Sekaric.

“An impression has been created that this was done by my client, which is not true,” said defence lawyer Borislav Jamina.

“My client was close friends with the man [witness S-4] until recently. Those are pure fabrications,” she added.

Sekaric, a former member of the Territorial Defence forces and the ‘Osvetnik’ (‘Avenger’) paramilitary group, is charged with participating in the attack on the village Lozje in the municipality of Gorazde, as well as for murders, rapes and abuse of non-Serbs in Visegrad.

The trial continues on September 15.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian