Bosnian Court Urged to Acquit Serb of Massacre
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The defendants in court. Photo: Bosnian state court.
In closing arguments at the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo on Monday, defendant Vukasin Draskovic’s lawyer asked for a verdict of acquittal, arguing that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was involved in an attack by Bosnian Serb forces on a column of Bosniaks in July 1992.
Lawyer Petko Pavlovic said that the prosecution did not manage to prove that Draskovic committed a crime against humanity, or that he was a member of the Lokanj Company of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade, which was allegedly involved in the attack.
He cited the testimony of one witness who said that “Draskovic was seen accompanying the arrested people, in civilian clothes and without weapons”, and the testimony of another who said that Draskovic was in another village at the time.
Draskovic is on trial, along with Mile Vujevic, Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Gojko Stevanovic, Rajo Lazarevic and Mico Manojlovic, for the killing of at least 67 civilians after a column of fleeing Bosniaks that left Teocak on July 14, 1992 was attacked.
According to the charges, Maksimovic was commander and Mitrovic deputy commander of the police intervention unit in Ugljevic, Peric was the commander of the Lokanj Company of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade, while the other defendants were members of the company.
Defence lawyer Pavlovic tried to challenge the testimony of a prosecution witness who described the shooting of the captured civilians and said that Draskovic was one of the soldiers who shot five civilians, including a boy, above a hole in which they were later buried.
To counter this, Pavlovic quoted the words of another witness who said that “Vukasin Draskovic did not have a weapon, he was not a member of the Lokanj Company, and he did not capture, tie up or kill anyone”.
Pavlovic also argued that the column of Bosniaks was “considered to be a legitimate military target”, citing allegations by witnesses who claimed that some of the Bosniaks had weapons.
The trial continues on November 1, when Gojko Stevanovic’s defence will present its closing arguments.