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Presenting his closing statement, Aleksandar Cvetkovic’s defense attorney said Cvetkovic didn’t participate in the execution of civilians from Srebrenica on the Branjevo Farm in the municipality of Zvornik in July 1995. As such, the defense believes that their client should be acquitted of charges of participating in genocide.
Cvetkovic, a former member of the Tenth Commando Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with participating in the mass shooting of hundreds of men from Srebrenica on a farm in Branjevo on July 16, 1995.
Defense attorney Petko Pavlovic said the state prosecution had not proven that Cvetkovic participated in the Branjevo killings, and said that testimony by key witness C1 was brought into question.
“The testimony given by witness C1 was not convincing. He doesn’t know for sure when and how he saw Cvetkovic shoot, he only said he was with the other members of the Tenth Commando Squad who were shooting. If the shooting lasted five hours, this allegation is illogical, because, in that case, C1 must have remembered something. On the other hand, other witnesses, who admitted having participated in this crime, namely Franc Kos, Zoran Goronja, Vlastimir Golijan and Stanko Kojic, all agreed that Cvetkovic did not shoot,” Pavlovic said.
Pavlovic said the Bosnian state prosecution tried to support witness C1’s testimony by including a report on the examination of Drazen Erdemovic which took place at the Hague Tribunal. He said that evidence couldn’t be used, because the defense didn’t have a chance to cross-examine Erdemovic.
The Bosnian state court pronounced Kos, Goronja, Golijan and Kojic guilty of participating in the mass shooting in Branjevo, while Erdemovic was sentenced to five years in prison after having admitted guilt for the same crime.
Pavlovic said a number of witnesses confirmed that the defendant was just a driver to other members of the Tenth Commando Squad, that he wasn’t assigned a rifle and that while in Branjevo, he spent the whole time in a barn, where he saw a large pig.
“The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has not proven the elements necessary to sentence a person for genocide…It’s nonsensical to say a man who only participated in one military operation and spent the duration of that operation in a barn committed premeditated genocide, meaning the destruction of a protected group of people,” Pavlovic said.
Cvetkovic addressed the trial chamber. He said he had waited for the truth, namely that he didn’t participate in the Branjevo killings, to become publicly known since 1996.
“I pay respect to all the victims of war. I know that I didn’t do anything to cause any casualties,” Cvetkovic said.
The trial began in November 2013, three months after Cvetkovic had been extradited from Israel. The verdict will be handed down on July 2 this year.