Vintila Defense Presents Closing Arguments, Claims Innocence
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Iulian-Nicolae Vintila and Ramiz Avdovic have been charged with war crimes committed against Serb civilians at the Viktor Bubanj military barracks and on the fifth floor of the district prison in Sarajevo. The prosecution alleges that the civilian prisoners held in those facilities were subjected to torture and abuse, and were also ordered to perform forced labour.
The indictment alleges that Avdovic was the guard commander on the fifth floor of the district prison in Sarajevo and at the former Viktor Bubanj military barracks, while Vintila was a cook and guard in the barracks.
Presenting his closing arguments, Vintila’s defense attorney Vlado Adamovic said the prosecution had charged the wrong individual and that none of the witnesses had confirmed the allegations in the indictment.
“We can’t have a conviction in this case. The procedure of proving it was all wrong. We had the wrong evidence and there is no legal way to convict this man,” Adamovic said.
Adamovic said the prosecution described acts of torture and the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war during the evidence hearing, but didn’t prove that these acts actually took place. Adamovic said the prosecution presented no evidence indicating that Vintila tortured prisoners.
He also said prisoners were detained because they were criminal suspects and that a legitimate court ordered their detention. He said it was absurd of the state prosecution to list the prisoners in the charges as “illegally detained civilians” when they had been subject to legal procedures.
“The prosecutor’s claim that these were illegally detained civilians, while using verdicts against them from legal courts is absurd,” Adamovic said.
Adamovic said it was possible that some crimes could have occurred at the Viktor Bubanj barracks, but that the defendants weren’t to blame for them.
“If Serbs lie, that does not mean all Serbs are liars. Witnesses said they were tortured and abused, but no witness said Vintila participated in these crimes. This is why these defendants should be released and the prosecution should be given a chance to bring the right people to court, those who should pay for their crimes. Do not let the prosecution blame all the crimes on a cook,” Adamovic said.