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Prosecution Requests Quashing of Verdict against the Raguzes

1. October 2014.00:00
The State Prosecution requests quashing of a first instance verdict under which Ivo and Veselko Raguz were acquitted of charges for crimes committed in the Stolac and Capljina area in 1993. The Defence teams request the Court to reject the appeal and confirm the first instance verdict.

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The Prosecution appealed against the wrongly and incompletely determined factual status and violation of the criminal proceedings, requesting the Court to quash the verdict of release and hold a retrial before the Appellate Chamber.

Prosecutor Sanja Jukic said that the Court made a wrong conclusion about the zone of responsibility of the unit commanded by Veselko Raguz and that the State Prosecution’s evidence was not fully analyzed.

“The presented evidence indicate that the Fourth Battalion was present in the Stolac area and that it had control over the movement of all Bosniak residents, whose freedom was endangered and limited,” Prosecutor Jukic said.

She mentioned that the examined witnesses said that Veselko Raguz was present at the locations where Bosniaks were captured, which were within the zone of responsibility of the Fourth Battalion.

“Witnesses Esma and Fata Kaplan said that they heard one of the soldiers saying that Veselko gave the order to detain people in the ‘Branko Sotra’ school building,” Jukic said.

According to her, during the course of the trial it was proved that Veselko Raguz “was one of the commanders”.

Veselko Raguz was on trial in his capacity as Commander of the Fourth “Knez Domagoj” Brigade with the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, and Ivo Raguz as member of that Unit.

They were acquitted of the charges for arrests and detention of Bosniak men from the Stolac area, resettlement of Bosniak women and children and the physical abuse and torture of civilians in Dretelj from the beginning of July to the end of August 1993.

The Defence of the indictees requested the Court to reject the State Prosecution’s appeal as unfounded and confirm the first instance verdict.

Branko Karadeglic, Defence attorney of Veselko Raguz, said that the Prosecution of BiH and prosecution bodies had never examined subordinated and superior persons in the chain of command, but the Defence had done it.

“The result showed that there was no order-giving role, which was charged upon my client,” Karadeglic said.

He mentioned that the Prosecution of BiH was inconsistent and that the fact, which dominated the entire course of the trial, was neglected.

“I am talking about the disarming order issued on July 3, 1993. The disarming happened before that, on July 1, which shows that unknown soldiers came and performed the disarming,” Karadeglic said.

Marko Raguz, Defence attorney of Ivo Raguz, said that he stuck to his written response to the appeal.

The trial of the Raguzes began in December 2011. The Court will render a decision concerning the appeal at a later stage. 

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian