Uncategorized @bs

Prosecution Requests Punishment for Command Responsibility in Kornjaca Retrial

The state prosecution has requested that Milun Kornjaca, the former Bosnian Serb Army commander of the Plavi Orlovi Unit, be convicted of command responsibility for war crimes committed in Cajnice in 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

“It’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kornjaca committed crimes against humanity,” prosecutor Dzevad Muratbegovic said at the end of the retrial held at the appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court.

Muratbegovic said witness statements demonstrated there were elements of a widespread and systematic attack on the entire territory of Cajnice, which resulted in the suffering of a large number of non-Serbs.

“The accused was aware of the attack because he was in a position to have a complete overview of what was happening. He served as a commander of the intervention platoon and the Plavi Orlovi Unit,” Muratbegovic said. He said these were not isolated cases.

Under a first instance verdict in May 2014, Kornjaca was acquitted of charges of having failed to punish his subordinate, Veljo Tadic. Tadic killed 27 civilians in a hunting lodge on May 19, 1992, and contributed to the murder of civilians from the village of Brdo. Kornjaca was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Under the same verdict, Kornjaca was found guilty of detaining and assaulting Bosniak civilians who were held in a container in Mostina in 1992. He was sentenced to five years in prison. However, this verdict has been partially repealed and the trial is being repeated to address the counts of murder in Mostina.

Muratbegovic said there was no evidence that Kornjaca participated in the Mostina killings, but believes those murders wouldn’t have occurred if he hadn’t issued an order to evacuate civilians from the area.

Muratbegovic said Kornjaca must have known that Tadic had killed the detained civilians, as alleged by witness testimonies.

“Turtle said Tadic was a member of his unit, and witnesses also confirmed such allegations…Kornjaca said he had heard about the murders. He, as a member of the unit, was obliged to take action against Tadic and submit a proposal for his punishment,” Muratbegovic said.

Muratbegovic asked the appeals chamber to take into account the following aggravating circumstances: the position of the defendant as a unit commander, the number of civilians killed, as well as the trauma and loss experienced by the families of the victims. As mitigating circumstances, Muratbegovic stated that the defendant is a family man and hasn’t been convicted for a crime before.

The defense presented several pieces of substantive evidence about Tadic’s military affiliation, a list of members of the Cajnice police station, and a decision which indicated that Tadic had returned to Cajnice.

The defense’s closing arguments have been scheduled for July 7.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian