Bosniaks Appeal Convictions for Hadzici Detention Centre Crimes

20. June 2019.15:41
Eight Bosniaks launched an appeal against their convictions for committing crimes against Serb and Croat civilians who were illegally held in wartime detention camps in the Hadzici area.

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Lawyers for Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember appealed at the Bosnian state court on Thursday against their convictions for crimes against Serb and Croat civilians illegally detained at the Silos camp, the Krupa barracks and the 9th of May elementary school in the Hadzici municipality.

The crimes were committed between 1992 and 1996.

All eight men were found guilty in July 2018, after a six-year trial, of illegally detaining the civilians and holding them in poor conditions in the three detention centres.

The court found that some prisoners were beaten, humiliated and forced to do hard labour while detained.

But all the defendants were acquitted of crimes against prisoners of war, after the court found that all the people detained in the three detention centres were civilians.

Djelilovic, the president of the wartime presidency of the Hadzici municipality, was sentenced to ten years in prison, as was Kazic, who was the commander of the Bosnian Army’s 9th Brigade.

The former commander of the local police station in Hadzici, Fadil Covic, and the warden of the Silos camp, Becir Hujic, were sentenced to eight years in prison.

Sabic, who the court said was the de facto commander of the Pazaric police station in Hadzici, and Halid Covic, the deputy warden at the Silos camp, were both sentenced to six years.

Former Krupa barracks warden Serif Mesanovic and former guard Nermin Kalember were given five years.

Djelilovic’s lawyer Vasvija Vidovic told the state court’s appeals chamber on Thursday that the verdict wrongly determined that her client had the intent to unlawfully arrest Serb civilians.

“Not a single piece of evidence indicates that he had an effective control over military structures [that detained the prisoners],” Vidovic said.

Lawyer Kadrija Kolic said his client Fadil Covic, as commander of the local police station, had no control over the prisoners because they were captured “during armed combat”.

“The Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina had full control over Silos,” Kolic said.

The state prosecution meanwhile urged the appeals chamber to impose longer sentences on the eight defendants.

Admir Muslimović

This post is also available in: Bosnian