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Verdict in Tahirovic Trial Expected Next Week

19. November 2015.00:00
Presenting its closing statement before the cantonal court of Mostar, the prosecution called for a guilty verdict at the trial of Mirsad Tahirovic. The defense called for an acquittal. Tahirovic has been charged with war crimes in Jasenica.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Tahirovic (nicknamed “Deba”), a former member of the Zulfikar Special Purposes Squad of the Bosnian Army, has been charged with participating in the torture, abuse and humiliation of detained Croat civilians and prisoners in Jablanica in 1993.

Presenting her closing statement at today’s hearing, prosecutor Vesna Pranjic said the prosecution had demonstrated that the defendant had tortured and abused detained Croat civilians and prisoners in 1993.

Pranjic said the defendant persistently committed crimes against wartime prisoners, who were unable to defend themselves, and argued that the trial chamber should consider Tahirovic’s continued crimes after the war an aggravating circumstance.

Pranjic said some defense witnesses claimed Tahirovic kept them alive during their detention, and that this should be considered a mitigating circumstance.

During her closing statement, defense attorney Binasa Abaspahic said it was clear on the basis of the evidence presented that the defendant had no particular authority. She described him as an ordinary soldier.

“We propose that the court consider the findings and opinion presented by a medical court expert, who said the defendant’s mental health was significantly reduced and to take the other side of his personality into consideration as well. He was ready to sacrifice his life to save a prisoner during the war,” Abaspahic said.

She said the defendant’s good behaviour in court and his regular appearances at hearings, despite his poor health, contributed to the cost-efficiency of the proceedings and should be taken into account while arriving at a verdict.

Prior to the presentation of closing statements, a protected witness known as O testified in Tahirovic’s defense. O said the defendant saved his life during his detention in Jasenica.

“I was detained in the basement of the Battle for the Wounded Museum in Jablanica. Deba [Tahirovic] and Pile were detained with us. When they brought them, Deba sat next to me, while Pile said to me, ‘You’re the one’ and pulled his pistol out. Deba jumped up and asked him why he hadn’t left his pistol. He seized it from him. He banged on the door and called the guards. He saved my life,” O said.

The trial chamber asked O whether the defendant was the man who had saved his life. O said he couldn’t confirm whether Tahirovic was the same person, because he felt he had “forgotten everything.”

The verdict will be handed down on November 24.

Sanela Gaković

This post is also available in: Bosnian