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Nationalistic Reasons for Crimes

24. August 2015.00:00
The state prosecution presented its closing statements at the Petar Kovacevic trial. Kovacevic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with participating in the murder, rape, and unlawful arrest of civilians in Visegrad in May 1992.

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State prosecutor Dzevad Muratbegovic said he believed Kovacevic killed civilian Mujo Gacko, raped a protected witness known as S1, assisted in the murder of civilians Ahmet Mutapcic and Ibrahim Kustura, and participated in setting fire to a house containing three women.
Muratbegovic told the trial chamber that he believed that Kovacevic’s guilt had been established through witness testimony, material evidence, as well as a court expert’s findings. He said he believed Kocavecic participated in a widespread and systematic attack on civilians as a member of the Visegradska Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army.
Muratbegovic went on to state that the attack targeted the non-Serb population of Visegrad, and lasted from May-August 1992. The attack consisted of arrests at the Visegrad police station, detention at the Uzamnica detention camp, as well as acts of murder, rape and arson.
“Civilians were the targets of the attacks…The ethnicity of the non-Serb population was the only criteria for their murder, detention and rape,” Muratbegovic said.
Muratbegovic advised the trial chamber to not trust testimony given by defense witnesses, but to review the testimony given by eyewitnesses, as well as the state prosecution’s material evidence.
“The defense witnesses are former comrades of the defendant, so they want to help him avoid criminal responsibility,” Muratbegovic said.
Muratbegovic referenced testimony given by S1, who described the rape and murder of Mujo Gacko. He said S1’s statement was clear and supported by material evidence, and had clearly identified the defendant.
“We consider that the defendant’s actions included premeditation, since S1 was ordered to look for Mujo Gacko,” Muratbegovic said.
Muratbegovic asked the court to consider the number of criminal acts, the circumstances under which they were committed and the cruel treatment of civilians as aggravating circumstances when deliberating their sentence.
He discussed the long-term negative effects of Kovacevic’s actions on S1’s quality of life, as well as those of the family members of other victims.
He proposed that the chamber consider the defendant’s family and lack of a previous criminal history as potential mitigating circumstances.
“In case you find him guilty, I propose you extend the prohibitive measures against him. He might flee abroad. His closest relatives are in Serbia,” Muratbegovic said.
The date of the defense’s closing statement will be determined at a later stage.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian