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Pravdic, a former member of the Croatian Defense Council was sentenced to 11 years in prison for war crimes in Zepce.
The state prosecution asked the appeals chamber to reject the appeal and confirm the initial verdict pronounced by the cantonal court of Zenica, which found Pravdic guilty of killing two people in order to avenge the death of his brother on August 5, 1993.
Defense attorney Vlado Adamovic said all the witnesses agreed that the perpetrator had extremely short hair. Adamovic said the first instance chamber failed to take into account a photo taken at the funeral of Pravdic’s brother two days after the murders, which showed that Pravdic had a mullet.
“Material evidence is exact irrespective of how you interpret witness statements…We know that witness statements are the least reliable form mof evidence. This is why war crimes are the most complicated cases,” Adamovic said.
Adamovic said that during the investigation witnesses were incorrectly asked to identify Franjo Pravdic in photos, and not the perpetrator of the murders.
According to Adamovic, the prosecution created the wrong impression that Pravdic was the perpetrator at the beginning of the trial, because when the murders were committed someone said “This is Franjo Pravdic. They killed his brother.”
“It was assumed that it was his brother. They manipulated with the name…However the witnesses withdrew that statement at the trial. When asked who shot at those people, nobody knew…They say they don’t differentiate between the Pravdics,” Adamovic said.
Adamovic said he belived that Stipe Pravdic was the perpetrator.
“When I asked my client why he failed to mention that Stipe had committed the murder on the very first day, I realized it wasn’t acceptable in that environment to save yourself by blaming someone else,” Adamovic said.
He proposed that the court render a verdict of release or, in the worst case scenario, repeal the first instance verdict.
“Don’t allow this person to become yet another war victim by having him serve an 11 year sentence of imprisonment,” Adamovic appealed.
State prosecutor Tihomir Jurko did not comment on the allegations contained in the defense’s appeal, and stuck to the proposal to refuse the appeal and confirm the first instance verdict.