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The state prosecution alleges that Begovic participated in the sexual abuse and assault of Bosniak civilians and prisoners of war in the Batkovic detention facility in the municipality of Bijeljina in the summer of 1992.
Aleksandar Majkalovic, Begovic’s defense attorney, said the state court should acquit him of these charges.
Majkalovic said in the event of a guilty verdict, the chamber should hand down a shorter jail sentence. He said his client was only 19 in 1992, when he worked as a guard in the Batkovic detention facility.
“My client said he did hit certain detainees…However, young people like him wanted to prove themselves in the hysteria-filled situation of war,” Majkalovic said. He said Begovic wasn’t the only guard who mistreated detainees.
Majkalovic said his client “explicitly rejects” the accusations of sexual abuse, as well as allegations that murders were committed in Batkovic.
Majkalovic said the state prosecution charged Begovic as a co-perpetrator, but failed to mention the names of other perpetrators in the indictment. He said this prevented the defense from finding them and inviting them to appear in court as witnesses.
He said the state prosecution had also failed to demonstrate whether the injured parties were civilians or soldiers.
Majkalovic described the testimony of state prosecution witnesses as “unconvincing.”
Majkalovic said their discussions on the Batkovic detention facility and media reports on the trial lead to the “contamination of testimony.” He asked the trial chamber to reject the testimony given by state prosecution witnesses.
Majkalovic said the defense examined the defendant’s wife and brother, who said Begovic wasn’t a violent person and had good relationships with Bosniak returnees.
Begovic addressed the trial chamber, and confirmed that prisoners were beaten in Batkovic.
Commenting on the defense’s closing statement, prosecutor Miroslav Janjic said the prosecution been unable to determine the civilian or combatant status of all the injured parties, but had demonstrated that all of them were detained in Batkovic.
The state prosecution had previously presented its closing statement. It called upon the court to find Begovic guilty.