Monday, May 12, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 12,2008) – In its closing arguments on Friday the Bosnian State Prosecutor demanded a 25-year prison sentence for Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek, a former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, accused of committing war crimes in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Prosecution argued that clear evidence of Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek's guilt had been established.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor said Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek had shown "extraordinary persistence, cruelty and lack of emotion" while committing these war crimes against the Bosnian civilians, and that he had not shown any remorse for his acts.

"The tears that he showed during the trial he justified with the memories of his children and having a hard time in detention," she said, adding that "this proves that he is capable of regret only for himself, and that speaks enough about his character."

The Bosnian State Prosecutor drew attention to all four items of indictment by which Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek is charged: murder, expulsion, rape and torture of Bosnian civilians in Visegrad. Lelek is accused of carrying out these crimes in 1992 together with Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic.

"Witnesses talked about the expulsion of the Bosnian population ...and about screams that they heard form the direction of Visegrad Bridge.

These are just part of the testimony given by witnesses who had an opportunity to feel this horror in their own skin," the Bosnian State Prosecutor said. She said the accused knew what was going on in Visegrad and that he "actively participated in crimes."

The Bosnian State Prosecutor also noted that numerous witnesses had identified Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek as one of those who took away their loved ones and that there was no doubt in regard to the identity of the indictee.

"Protected witnesses spoke about rape in Vilina Vlas and they said that they where raped by the indictee.Their testimony was at odds with statements made during the investigation but these differences are not factual. The witnesses are sure that they were raped by Zeljko Lelek, and whether this was during the first, second or third day, and which one he was in the line is totally unimportant," the Bosnian State Prosecutor said.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor said the differences in details of testimonies were a "logical circumstance of the time that has passed." and that the differences prove that the witnesses had no previous agreement about the testimony they would give, and that they disprove the indictee's contention that there was a conspiracy against him.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor argued that none of the defence witnesses had provided a solid alibi for the Serbian war criminal, and that most had had an interest in testifying in his favour "since some of them also participated in these crimes."

Defence counsel will give closing arguments before the Bosnian State Court on May 16.

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