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Bojadzic’s Defense Attorney Presents Closing Statement

20. April 2015.00:00
During the first day of closing statements in the trial of five former Bosnian Army soldiers, Nihad Bojadzic’s defense attorney described what she perceived to be irregularities in the trial. Bojadzic and others have been charged with war crimes in Trusina, in the municipality of Konjic.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Bojadzic is on trial with Mensur Memic, Dzevad Salcin and Nedzad Hodzic, former members of the Zulfikar Brigade, and Senad Hakalovic, a former member of the 45th Brigade of the Bosnian Army.

Bojadzic has been charged with commanding an attack on Trusina on April 16, 1993, which resulted in the deaths of 22 civilians and captured members of the Croatian Defense Council. Bojadzic allegedly commanded the attack from a nearby hill and ordered his forces to leave no one alive.

Vasvija Vidovic, Bojadzic’s defense attorney, said she couldn’t access evidence from other relevant war crimes investigations in Trusina. She said prosecutor Vesna Budimir, who initiated the court procedure, consistently refused to submit this evidence.

“I don’t need to repeat that since the beginning of the investigation, the prosecution was obliged to submit relieving or mitigating evidence to the defense,” Vidovic said.

Vidovic said she requested access to the statements of suspects in other cases, but prosecutor Budimir refused to grant her access, on the grounds that it might jeopardize the investigations. Vidovic said it wasn’t in Bojadzic’s own interest to share those statements with her.

Vidovic said the statements were made available to her when she could no longer use them in her client’s case.

“It can merely be concluded that they [the statements] are favorable to Nihad Bojadzic,” she said.

According to Vidovic, Jusuf Hadzajlija, the former assistant commander of the 45th Brigade of the Bosnian Army, conducted an investigation into the attack on Trusina and submitted his findings to the police and army. Vidovic said that in his findings, Hadzajlija said he hadn’t seen Bojadzic near the crime scene.

In her closing arguments, Vidovic condemned the search of Bojadzic’s prison cell as per a warrant by the Bosnian state court. She said members of the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) didn’t tell Bojadzic that he had a right to legal counsel, but simply handcuffed him.

According to Vidovic, SIPA reviewed confidential documents that belonged to Bojadzic and his legal counsel, and also reviewed the defense’s analysis of witness testimony.

“The fundamental right to a defense was violated,” Vidovic said.

Vidovic said since Bojadzic’s time in custody was reaching an end, the state prosecution filed an additional two indictments against him for war crimes in Jablanica, in order to prolong his custody.

“The defendants can be harmed by the separation of the indictment and conducting two trials,” she said. She added that Bojadzic was mentally exhausted.

Vidovic will continue presenting her closing arguments on April 27.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian