Tuesday, October 9, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 9,2007) – The lawyer representing Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek facing trial before the War Crimes Chamber of the Bosnian State Court, has said he wants his client’s defence case to include testimony from Serbian war criminals Milan and Sredoje Lukic.

The Lukic brothers, who became notorious during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia for their roles in a genocidal Serbian paramilitary group known as the White Eagles, are currently awaiting trial before the Hague war crimes tribunal.

Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek is accused of participating in 1992 in the expulsion and murders of Bosnian civilians from the Bosnian villages of Dusce and Crnca and in the seizure of workers from the Varda factory in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, some of whom were subsequently murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

Defence lawyer also wants the Bosnian State Court to hear testimony from a convicted Serbian war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for war crimes committed against Bosnians in Visegrad during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Defence lawyer, who said he had previously turned down an invitation to act as Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic’s attorney because of a potential conflict of interests with the Lelek case, reported that Serbian war criminals Milan and Sredoje Lukic had agreed to give evidence. But he said he was yet to contact Serbian war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic.

Meanwhile, four witnesses whose evidence wrapped up the Prosecution case yesterday were unable to confirm whether or not the accused participated in the crimes in question.

Witness Nikola Savic,who had been a member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations from June 1992 onwards,said that members of the group did not visit Dusce and he did not see Serbian war criminal Lelek in the course of the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Two other witnesses, Brano Tesevic and Srdjan Vucicevic were both members of the same unit of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS). Tesevic, who claimed that his own role in that unit was limited to logistics, said he did not participate in combat operations and only heard about the alleged events in Dusce after Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek’s trial had started.

“All I can say about Lelek is that he is a good guy coming from an honourable family,” Tesevic told the Bosnian State Court.

Vucicevic said he heard about the events in Dusce in 1992, a few months after they occurred, and that it was paramilitaries who were to blame. He said he tried to avoid such groups at the time, since he was married to a Bosnian woman and was therefore a potential target himself. But he said he never heard that Lelek was involved in the Dusce violence.

The final witness, Jovo Planojevic, worked as a security guard in the Varda factory said he didn’t see Serbian war criminal Lelek at the factory and was not told that he had visited during the period in question.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek before the Bosnian State Court is set to continue on October 15, when the defence are due to examine seven witnesses.

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