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Verdict in Zilic and Gakic Trial Expected November 4

28. October 2015.00:00
Presenting its closing statement before the cantonal court of Mostar, the prosecution called upon the court to find Ramo Zilic and Esad Gakic guilty of war crimes in the Konjic area. The defense proposed a verdict of release.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Esad Gakic and Ramo Zilic have been charged with the inhumane treatment of Croat and Serb civilians who were detained on the premises of the Musala school in Konjic. They allegedly caused severe suffering and injury to the detainees in 1993 and 1994.

Prosecutor Sanel Pajevic said the responsibility of the defendants could be clearly determined based on the evidence presented at the trial.

“We propose that the court consider the manner and brutality with which the crimes were committed against the injured parties as aggravating circumstances. When the crimes were committed, the defendants were mature enough to consider the consequences of their actions. The most severe consequences were inflicted upon Zdravko Knezevic and Dragan Kuljanin,” Pajevic said.

Pajevic called for a sentence of imprisonment.

Dusan Tomic, Zilic’s defense attorney, said there wasn’t a single piece of objective evidence which confirmed the charges in the indictment. He said the prosecution had only presented subjective evidence from injured parties.

“No witnesses confirmed that my client participated in the actions charged upon him under this indictment. Ramo Zilic should not be sentenced for something he did not do. Therefore, the defense asks the trial chamber to acquit him of these charges and suggests to the prosecution to bring the actual perpetrators of this crime to court,” Tomic said.

Serif Cviko, Gakic’s defense attorney, also requested a verdict of release due to a lack of evidence.

Prior to the presentation of closing statements and as per a motion by the defense, a statement by witness Jure Sudar was read in the courtroom. Sudar was detained in the Musala detention camp in 1993. He said that two men named Maca and Osmo Pirkic took him and three other detainees out of the facility.

“They lit a fire in the corridor. Some other soldiers, whom I did not know, were present as well. Maca and Osmo ordered us to strip naked, so we did. Then they started kicking and punching us. Then they ordered us to perform oral sex on each other. We had to do it. Then they told us to have sexual intercourse with each other, but we could not do it,” Sudar said.

According to Sudar’s statement, they were then ordered to lie down. He said their groins and genitals were burned with burning pieces of wood.

“I could see Osmo and Mitko Pirkic burning me. The abuse lasted about two hours,” Sudar’s statement said.

The verdict will be pronounced on November 4.

Sanela Gaković

This post is also available in: Bosnian