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Verdict against the Cavalics on Friday

16. September 2014.00:00
On Friday, September 19 the District Court in Doboj is due to pronounce a verdict against brothers Esad and Dervis Cavalic for crimes against Serb civilians in Derventa.

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Presenting its closing statement, the District Prosecution requested the Court to pronounce the indictees guilty, while the Defence teams said that the only fair verdict would be a verdict of release due to lack of evidence and contradictory testimonies.
“By examining its witnesses and presenting material evidence, the Prosecution has determined that the indictees, former members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, beat Blagoje Djuras with their hands and legs, causing him life-threatening injuries, in a detention camp in the Yugoslav National Army, JNA, Centre in Derventa. Djuras was then killed by other members of HVO,” said District Prosecutor Slavko Krulj.
Krulj said that Prosecution witnesses confirmed that the Cavalic brothers beat other detainees in the JNA Centre, as well as Rabic detention camp, near Derventa.
He said that the material evidence he had presented included, among others, some documents issued by the Ministry of Defence of BiH, indicating that there was no evidence that the Cavalic brothers belonged to any armed formation during the war, but it did not mean that they were not members of HVO.
According to the District Prosecution’s charges, Esad and Dervis Cavalic, former members of HVO, tortured and treated civilians in an inhumane manner in detention camps in the JNA building in Derventa and Rabic military hangars, near Derventa, in the period from April to June 1992.
Vasvija Vidovic, Defence attorney of the indictees, said that the District Prosecution “has not proved the allegations from the indictment”, which, according to her, were totally incorrect.
Vidovic said that the injured parties in this case “were not civilians, because military status was admitted to them for the period covered by the indictment”.
“Witnesses’ statements are contradictory and different. They spoke on the basis of what they heard. They did not directly see the actions described under the indictment. They assumed that those were the Cavalic brothers. The identification of the indictees was conducted on the basis of CIPS photographs and not on the basis of photographs made during the incriminated period of time, which is in contradiction to the Criminal Code of RS,” Vidovic said.
In May 2013 the District Court in Doboj sentenced Dervis Cavalic to five-and-a-half years and his brother Esad to five years in prison.  
The Supreme Court of Republika Srpska, RS, upheld an appeal filed by the Defence and, at the beginning of February this year, quashed the first instance verdict pronounced by the Doboj District Court and ordered a retrial.

Arnes Grbešić

This post is also available in: Bosnian