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Milorad Trbic, a former deputy commander for security of the Bosnian Serb army Zvornik Brigade, told the Sarajevo court on Monday that he was innocent of all charges and that his rights have been violated.
“I want to say, one more time, publically, that I was never present in a single place where Srebrenica residents were killed, nor did I take part in it or had knowledge about it. I want to tell the public, my friends and family, since I have been convicted of a grave crime, that I am innocent,” said Trbic.
Trbic’s Defence and the Bosnian State Prosecution presented their appeals on Monday to the first instance verdict, under which he was sentenced to 30 years in jail according to the Bosnian criminal code for taking part in the Srebrenica genocide.
Presiding judge Redzib Begic explained that the Bosnian Constitutional court quashed the final verdict against Trbic, because the wrong criminal code was used in his verdict – the Bosnian criminal code from 2003 instead of the more lenient Yugoslav code – and asked the sides only to present appeals in the part regarding the sentence and application of laws.
Prosecutor Dzermin Pasic said he will stay with the appeals presented in 2010 and asked for Trbic to be given the maximum punishment of 45 years, according to the new Bosnian criminal code.
Trbic’s lawyer Dalibor Pejakovic, asked the court to quash the verdict entirely and hold a retrial and finally acquit Trbic.
“I want to ask that my client be released until a final decision has been made,” said Pejakovic.
The Appeals chamber will make a decision at a later stage.
Trbic’s trial opened in 2007 and two years later he was found guilty of taking part in the capturing, detention and execution of Bosniaks from Srebrenica. In 2011 the Appeals chamber confirmed this verdict.
However, at the end of last year, the Bosnian Constitutional court quashed the final verdict for the wrong application of criminal codes.
Bosnia has retried more than 20 war crimes cases because the wrong criminal code was used at their trial.