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Musajb Kukavica Demands Aquittal

28. November 2014.00:00
The Defence of Musajb Kukavica requests the third instance Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to quash a verdict under which he was sentenced to four years in prison for crimes in Bugojno.

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The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, did not appeal the second instance verdict pronounced in December last year, but it requested the Court to reject Kukavica’s appeal.
Kukavica, a former Commander of Security, was found guilty of having committed crimes against prisoners of war in a detention camp at “Iskra” stadium in Bugojno.
In its appeal, Kukavica’s Defence pointed out that, when it came to taking detainees to other locations in order to perform forced labour, Kukavica was the last ring in the chain of command.
“Commanders of the Western Operational Group held a meeting at which they made detailed instructions on how detainees should be used for performing labour… The Brigade approved the taking of detainees from the stadium, from which people were taken according to a list. They took the responsibility over those persons, while they were performing the works,” said Defence attorney Fadil Abaz.
He said that it had not been proved what Kukavica’s role was and what he was able to do, in his capacity as a subordinated officer, except for what he had already done.
Abaz mentioned that Nisvet Gasal, a former Manager of the detention camp, as well as Enes Handzic, a former Assistant Commander of the 307th Brigade of the Army of BiH, who “directly approved the using of those persons for works”, had already been sentenced for these crimes, so his client should be freed.
“My client did not know where and how those detainees would be used for works… He undoubtedly selected them. If one of them was sick, he would send somebody else…” the Defence attorney said.
Gasal was sentenced, under a second instance verdict, to four years in prison. After having admitted guilt, Handzic was sentenced, in May 2011, to eight years in prison.
Defence attorney Abaz said that, in his testimony Gasal said that Kukavica informed him about the happenings at the stadium and that, in his capacity as Manager, he punished those, who treated detainees in an inhumane manner.
Prosecutor Slavica Terzic said that the indictee knew where those detainees would be taken in order to perform forced labour, in other words, that they would be taken to frontlines, where some were wounded.
She mentioned that detainees, who were held at the stadium, were lined up each morning and that Kukavica could see their injuries.
Kukavica, whose trial began seven years ago was acquitted of charges at the end of the first instance trial before the Court of BiH and sentenced during the appellate process, which is why his case is going before the third-instance chamber.
The third instance Chamber will render a decision concerning the appeal at a later stage.

Marija Taušan

This post is also available in: Bosnian