Wednesday, February 27, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – The Bosnian State Court said it will announce its verdict against Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic at the end of this week.The Trial Chamber said it will announce its verdict tomorrow,on February 28.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor alleges that Serbian war crimials Rasevic and Todovic participated in the establishment and maintenance of the system for murder and mistreatment of at least 700 Bosnian civilians held by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Foca concentration camp,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment claims that Rasevic was commander of guards, while Todovic was deputy concentration camp commander. The two Serbian war criminals are charged on the basis of their command and individual responsibility.

Calling for a verdict of release, the two indictees and their Defence teams said they considered that the Prosecution did not prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In their closing arguments, Serbian war criminals Rasevic and Todovic denied having participated in the mistreatment and murder of Bosnian civilians and asked the Bosnian State Court to pass down "the only fair verdict, i.e. a verdict of release."

Defence attorney Slavisa Prodanovic stressed that Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic treated the Bosnian civilians in a "humane" manner and that in no way could he influence the conditions in the Foca concentration camp. He further said that he did not have the "power" to sanction other Serbian aggressor's soldiers "for whatever they did".

Prodanovic said that the indictment was "defective and imprecise" and repeated several times that it was "arbitrary." He added that the Prosecution had not managed to prove, "beyond reasonable doubt", any count from the indictment or the individual and command responsibility of his client.

"The Prosecution has based this case on one document, by which the Foca concentration camp commander appointed Rasevic as commander of guards. On the basis of this document, the Prosecution determined that he had the power to prevent the guards from doing something. His sole responsibility was to distribute the guards. All other issues were handled by the concentration camp commander," Prodanovic said.

Todovic's Defence attorneys also indicated that Serbian war criminal Milorad Krnojelac, the Foca concentration camp commander who was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to 15 years of imprisonment, was responsible for this concentration camp and that his client's responsibility was "not proved at all."

"The concentration camp commander had the responsibility for all detainees. However, his responsibilities were also limited," the second indictee's additional attorney Jovan Debelica said.

Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic said he helped the Bosnian civilians held in the Foca concentration camp "as much as he possibly could" and that he could not prevent anyone from taking them away "even if he told them to kill him first."

"I feel honoured and pleased when I see some of the witnesses whom I helped. To me, the fact that some people who used to be detained in the Facility greet and encourage me today represents the biggest moral satisfaction," he said.

Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic also added that he felt sympathy for the families of those Bosnian civilians murdered and the survivors who had been detained in the Foca concentration camp. He also pointed out that it would be unfair to them should the Bosnian State Court pronounce him guilty as, in that case, "the actual perpetrators would remain unpunished."

Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic did not deny that conditions in the Foca concentration camp were "difficult". However, he said that this was a result of "objective circumstances" and was not his fault. He also pointed out that he was glad because "this agony" was finally over.

No comments: