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Saric, a former member of the Rosa Brandis Independent Company of the Croatian Defense Council, has been charged with participating in the abduction of civilian Aleksa Kostres from a location in front of his apartment building in Travnik. Kostres’ remains were exhumed in the vicinity of Vitez in 2005.
Presenting his closing statement, prosecutor Ahmed Mesic said he was convinced that Saric participated in the abduction of civilian Aleksa Kostres and also treated members of his family in an inhumane manner. Mesic requested that the trial chamber hand down a verdict of conviction and an adequate sentence for the crime committed.
“There is no doubt at all about the identity of the persons who took Aleksa Kostres away. They were not “Hercegovci” as was allegedly rumoured. We are convinced that the court will pronounce a verdict of conviction on the basis of the evidence presented,” Mesic said.
Mesic also commented on the inhumane treatment of injured party Sajma Kostres and her children, and said this treatment had caused long-term negative effects for the Kostres family.
Defense attorney Miroslav Kozina said “the prosecution has not presented sufficient evidence on the basis of which one could determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my client committed the crime he has been charged with.”
“None of the witnesses saw my client. The fact that none of them knew my client is the biggest contradiction. Nonetheless, all of them testified about an event that happened 22 years ago, which they did not see,” Kozina said. Kozina added that Sajma Kostres constantly changed her statements.
Kozina said the defense expected a verdict of release.