Sunday, October 7, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 7,2007) - The Bosnian State Prosecutor has completed the presentation of its material evidence at the trial of Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija, charged with having committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in the western bosnian town of Sanski Most. The defence is due to commence presenting its evidence on 10 October.

Palija, a former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), is accused of having participated in threatening, beating, arresting and taking to concentration camps of Bosnian and Croatian civilians, and in the killing and raping of two Bosnian women in the period from May 1992 until the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment alleges that, on 31 May 1992, Palija and other Serbian aggressor's soldiers took part in the attack on Begici hamlet in Sanski Most. During this attack, village residents were detained and gathered in front of one house in the village. There, the men were separated from women. The men were then taken to the Vrhpolje bridge and forced to jump into the water while soldiers were shooting at them. 28 Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor on that occasion.

The Prosecution has asked the Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court to admit the facts determined in the verdict against convicted Serbian war criminal Radoslav Brdjanin pronounced in The Hague, The verdict sentenced Brdjanin to 30 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Bosanska Krajina.

The ICTY verdicts indicates that "a broad and systematic attack was conducted by VRS, Territorial Defence, police forces and paramilitary formations against the Bosniak and Croat population in Bosanska Krajina".

The Bosnian State Prosecutor has asked that the facts established by the above verdict - that the Bosnian and Croatian civilians were taken by the Serbian aggressor to concentration camps, murdered and that their property was pillaged - he admitted as a determined fact in this case.

The Prosecutor considers that there is a link between Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija and those facts because he was a member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS).

The Defence has objected to the eventual admission of the fact previously determined at some other trial considering that it "would violate the indictee's right to a fair trial".

"If the Court admits all the facts, it means that they have been proven beyond reasonable doubt and the indictee will not be given an opportunity to deny them," Pralija's defence attorney Ranko Dakic has said.

The Trial Chamber will announce its decision at a later stage.The Defence has also confirmed that it will examine 11 witnesses and present 12 pieces of material evidence before the Bosnian State Court. The process is expected to last for six working days.

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