State Prosecution Calls for Retrial in Aleksandar Cvetkovic Case

3. March 2016.00:00
The state prosecution has asked the state court to repeal a verdict acquitting Aleksandar Cvetkovic of charges of participating in genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995. The defense objected to the proposal.

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Prosecutor Dubravko Campara requested the repeal of Cvetkovic’s acquittal and asked that a retrial be held before the appeals chamber. He said the factual status of the case was incorrectly determined and criminal proceedings were violated during the first instance trial.

Explaining his claims, Campara said the first instance chamber hadn’t valued a statement Cvetkovic gave to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a suspect. In that statement, Campara said, he presented “an important fact about captives, as well as his role at Branjevo on July 16, 1995.”

“This statement, which the first instance chamber dismissed, refers to the events which took place Branjevo in July 1995, refutes Cvetkovic’s subsequent testimony and contradicts the defense’s allegation that Cvetkovic was just a driver at the Tenth Commando Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS),” Campara said.

Campara also said that the chamber failed to take into account statements given by former members of the Tenth Commando Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army, who had participated in the murder of captives in Branjevo. Those individuals were sentenced for the killing in the meantime.

“It seems to me that the first instance chamber decided to acquit Cvetkovic of charges and then selected the evidence, instead of considering the evidence first and then rendering the verdict of release,” Campara said.

In July 2015, the Bosnian state court acquitted Cvetkovic of charges of participating in Srebrenica genocide in July 1995. According to the verdict, Cvetkovic didn’t participate in the murder of approximately 900 Bosniak men in Branjevo on July 16, 1995.

Cvetkovic’s defense asked the court to reject the prosecution’s call for an appeal as unfounded. The defense said that Cvetkovic’s statement to the ICTY, which he gave in the capacity of a suspect, could not be included in the case file as evidence.

“According to the Law on Criminal Proceedings of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are no provisions on admitting statements given by suspects. We believe that the first instance chamber assessed all pieces of evidence very carefully and came to a good conclusion by finding Cvetkovic not guilty. For this reason, we ask the court to reject the prosecution’s appeal and confirm the first instance verdict,” said defense attorney Milos Peric.

The appeals chamber of the state court will render its decision at a later stage.

Dragana Erjavec

This post is also available in: Bosnian