Prosecution Gives Closing Statement at Bjelica and Tripkovic Trial, Ambulance Called for Tripkovic

9. March 2016.00:00
Presenting its closing statement, the state prosecution said it had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zoran Bjelica and Novica Tripkovic committed war crimes in the Kalinovik area.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Bjelica, Tripkovic, and Marinko Bjelica, have been charged with beating detainees Suad Hasanbegovic, Edin Bico, Seid Keso and Hasim Hatic in the Miladin Radojevic school building in Kalinovik on August 1, 1992 or approximately on that date. Keso died from his injuries during the same evening. The defendants allegedly killed the three other detainees on the following day.

“Honourable court, the testimony of the witnesses indicates that the victims of this crime were civilians…Their status has not been brought into question at all,” prosecutor Cazim Hasanspahic said. He said it had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants were members of the Bosnian Serb Army.

Hasanspahic described testimony given by Enesa Hasanbegovic, the wife of victim Suad Hasanbegovic. Hasanbegovic was allegedly called “a vet from Gacko.”

Hasanspahic said Enesa Hasanbegovic described, without difficulty, how her husband was removed from the gym and didn’t return after she heard cries coming from the locker room.

“She said Slavko Lalovic entered the room with a gentleman and his son. He identified the man in the courtroom as the second defendant, Novica Tripkovic…According to her testimony, Marinko Bjelica came in the afternoon saying ‘some of Pero’s guys killed the vet’,” Hasanspahic said.

Hasanspahic said Enesa Hasanbegovic’s testimony was supported by the testimony of other witnesses as well. He described testimony given by witness Obren Djorem. Hasanspahic said Djorem wasn’t sure if Zoran Bjelica also visited the school, which “confirms the fact that testimony of the witness was absolutely true.”

Hasanspahic also described testimony given by witness Fadila Hatic. Hatic described the murder, rape and mistreatment of Edin Bico in the school building. Hasanspahic said Hatic heard from other women that Zoran and Marinko Bjelica used to visit the school.

Hasanspahic said the witnesses recognized the defendants in photos during the investigation phase of the case and confirmed their identifications at the trial.

The prosecution’s closing statement was interrupted due to Tripkovic’s poor health. An ambulance was called to the state court to assist him.

The state prosecution will continue presenting its closing statement on March 16.

Tripkovic and Zoran Bjelica were originally charged with Marinko Bjelica, but the case against him was separated in March 2015 due to his poor health.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian