This post is also available in: Bosnian
At today’s hearing of the Aleksandar Cvetkovic trial, the trial chamber approved a motion by the state prosecution to watch a video recording of testimony previously given by former UN military observer Joseph Kingori. The video recording will be presented to the Bosnian state court at the next hearing.
“The witness [Kingori] was in Potocari during the separation of women and children from adult men, who were then taken away. We know where they were taken. This is the essence of genocide, which the prosecution has been attempting to prove this entire time,” prosecutor Sasa Sarajlic said.
Kingori served as a UN military observer in Srebrenica, and previously testified at the trial of Franc Kos, Stanko Kojic, Vlastimir Golijan, and Zoran Goronja in November 2011. Kos, Kojic, Golijan, and Goronja, all former members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army, were sentenced to a total of 112 years in prison for the mass killing of Srebrenica residents on the Branjevo military farm.
The prosecution alleges that Kingori’s testimony as a former official is necessary in order to prove the charges against Cvetkovic.
Cvetkovic, a former member of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with participating in the shooting of approximately 900 Srebrenica men on the Branjevo military farm in the municipality of Zvornik in July 1995.
The defense objected to the prosecution’s proposal, and requested Kingori’s direct examination.
“From the very beginning the prosecutor announced that the witness will appear in court. We haven’t received any explanation as to why he has not come or why he can’t testify via video link,” defense attorney Petko Pavlovic said.
Pavlovic also said he considered the video recording of Kingori’s testimony as cumulative evidence. He said many pieces of evidence associated with the general context of the Srebrenica genocide were presented at the trial.
The trial chamber said that it was uncertain as to when it would be possible to ensure Kingori’s appearance in the courtroom.
“It is difficult to ensure the arrival of this witness. On the other hand, this trial is close to its end. We therefore consider that this would delay it unnecessarily,” trial chamber chairman Darko Samardzic said.
The video recording of Joseph Kingori’s testimony is the prosecution’s last piece of evidence. Closing statements will be presented afterwards.
The next hearing will be held on March 31.