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Verdict in Salcin Trial Scheduled for December 30

10. December 2015.00:00
Presenting its closing statement, the defense of Dzevad Salcin called upon the trial chamber to find Salcin not guilty of wartime prisoner abuse. According to Salcin’s defense, the state prosecution didn’t demonstrate that Salcin was responsible for the abuse of wartime prisoners on Mount Igman in 1993.

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Salcin, a former member of the Bosnian Army’s Zulfikar Squad, has been charged with cutting off a part of prisoner Dragan (nicknamed “Vojvoda”) Vukovic’s ear in front of the Mraziste Hotel on Mount Igman in March 1993. Vukovic was being held in detention at the Mraziste Hotel.
Salcin has also been charged with beating prisoners in the kitchen of the Mraziste Hotel during the first half of 1993.
Continuing his closing statement, defense attorney Kerim Celik commented upon the witness testimony given at the trial. He said none of the witnesses actually saw Salcin cutting off part of Dragan Vukovic’s ear.
Celik said several witnesses said they heard Husein Sadikovic cut Vukovic’s ear. He said Sadikovic had the same nickname as the defendant, “Struja.” Sadikovic used to be a driver for Zuka, a Zulfikar Unit commander.
Celik repeated testimony given by a witness who said that “Zuka and his driver” appeared on Mount Igman and that Vukovic said “He cut off a part of my ear.”
Celik also revisited testimony given by Nihad Bojadzic. Bojadzic said Huseinovic came to his office in Jablanica to get a certificate confirming that he had been a member of a special unit.
“The witness said Huseinovic asked him angrily, ‘Should I bring Vojvoda here to prove that I cut his ear off?,’” he said.
Celik said Salcin admitted to the crime in March 2012 because the state prosecution told him he wouldn’t get out of prison until he admitted his guilt.
“He was in the midst of a difficult nervous breakdown at the time, as his only son had been killed. He also faced grave accusations of war crimes,” Celik said, quoting findings from court experts.
Celik said there was no reliable evidence for the second count in the indictment either, which claims that Salcin threw a chair at a prisoner and beat other prisoners on Mount Igman in July 1993.
Celik said witnesses hadn’t seen Salcin mistreat prisoners. He said some of the witnesses described Salcin’s alleged abuse as late as 2013, but hadn’t mentioned it in previous statements.
Celik said witnesses had said that Salcin wasn’t prone to violent behaviour and didn’t demonstrate animosity to any ethnic or religious community.
“I’m sorry for every person who experienced bad things during the war, but I can proudly say that I didn’t even think of doing something bad, let alone do it,” Salcin said in his closing statement.
Salcin said that after an undeniable alibi demonstrated that he wasn’t on Mount Igman from April 14, 1993 until the end of July 1993, the prosecution revised the date of the indictment to March 1993 instead of May 1993.
“I wish Dragan Vukovic was alive. I would show him my picture taken during the war and ask him if I did it…Honourable chamber, you should use logic, not the stuff the prosecution had fabricated,” Salcin said.
The trial has lasted for slightly more than two years. The trial chamber scheduled the verdict for December 30.

Marija Taušan

This post is also available in: Bosnian