Bosnian Army Ex-Soldiers Retried for Raping Serb Girl

1. February 2019.15:33
The retrial of former Bosnian Army soldiers Samir Kesmer and Mirsad Menzilovic, accused of raping a Serb minor in Sarajevo in May 1993, opened at the Bosnian state court.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The retrial of Samir Kesmer and Mirsad Menzilovic for wartime rape began on Friday at the state court in Sarajevo.

The two men were initially sentenced in July 2018 to five-and-a-half years in prison each for raping an underage Serb girl in Sarajevo’s Velesici neighbourhood in May 1993, but the court’s appeals chamber quashed the verdict and sent the men for retrial.

“The injured party was a civilian minor at the moment of the commission of the crime. An expert witness’s finding determined that her ability to lead a normal life was reduced by 30 per cent as a result of that act,” prosecutor Marijana Cobovic said in her opening statement.

Kesmer’s lawyer Senad Dupovac said the defence will refute the allegations by arguing that the crime did not happen in the manner described in the indictment, that Kesmer was not a Bosnian Army soldier, and that the case concerns a crime that was the subject of a final verdict back in 1993.

A third defendant, Elvir Muminovic, was originally convicted alongside Kesmer and Menzilovic, but the appeals chamber separated his case from the others because he is on the run.

“The cases are being separated because the defendant is unavailable to the court and it is completely uncertain when he may become available,” said appeals chamber presiding judge Mirko Bozovic.

Defence lawyer Senad Bilic said Muminovic told him that he is in Switzerland.

“All I can say is that I have spoken to the defendant only once after the pronouncement of the first-instance verdict. On that occasion he told me he was in Switzerland, because he has citizenship of both Bosnia and Herzegovina and that country. He even asked me to inform the Court about it. I tried to get in touch with him in various ways after that, but I was unsuccessful,” Bilic said.

Muminovic was originally sentenced to six years in jail for his involvement in the rape of the Serb girl.

Haris Rovčanin

This post is also available in: Bosnian