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Pravdic Verdict Scheduled for November 11

9. November 2015.00:00
The retrial of Franjo Pravdic, charged with war crimes in Zepce, has been completed. The cantonal court of Zenica will hand down a new verdict in the case on November 11.

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At today’s hearing, the cantonal prosecution of Zenica said it had proven Pravdic’s guilt, and called upon the court to convict the defendant.

Prosecutor Branislav Tomas described the testimony of prosecution witnesses “who clearly remembered the manner in which brothers Edin and Edib Fejzic were murdered, the perpetrator’s appearance, and that one of the Pravdic brothers committed the act to avenge his murdered brother.”

Tomas said the testimony given by defense witnesses was fabricated to provide an alibi for the defendant and to misidentify his deceased uncle as the perpetrator.

“With regards to the photo which the defense used in an attempt to prove that the defendant doesn’t look like the perpetrator described in the indictment, we consider the photo too blurred to be used as a basis for confirming those allegations,” Tomas said.

Defense attorney Vlado Adamovic said the retrial was ordered after the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina repealed the previous verdict. Adamovic said that in its explanation of the repealed verdict, the court said that the first instance trial chamber had favoured the prosecution.

Adamovic said the identification procedures used during the investigation phase of the case were rejected as unlawful evidence, and added that the trial proceedings had been irregular from that point onwards. He said the prosecution neglected to pursue the real perpetrator and attempted to prove Pravdic’s guilt through hearsay.

“The verdict was repealed, because the trial was not held according to ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standards. When the court conducts a trial like this, it will realize that the only consistency between the witnesses’ testimony was the fact that the perpetrator was blonde with an extremely short haircut,” Adamovic said.

Adamovic referred to a piece of material evidence in the case file that expressed doubt that Pravdic was the perpetrator of the crime. He said the court could hand down no other verdict apart from an acquittal as a result.

In December 2013, the cantonal court of Zenica sentenced Pravdic, a former member of the Croatian Defense Council, to 11 years in prison for war crimes in Zepce.

Pravdic was found guilty of murdering two captives to avenge the murder of his brother on August 5, 1993.

In August 2015, the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina repealed the verdict and ordered a retrial.

Dženana Sivac

This post is also available in: Bosnian