SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 15,2008) - The retrial of Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija for war crimes against Bosnian civilians committed in the western Bosnian town of Kljuc,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, has been completed.
Presentation of evidence before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court has been completed with the additional examination of the indictee.The presentation of closing arguments is due today.
The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija, as former member of the genocidal paramilitary fascist formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), with having participated in the deportation and murder of a large number of Bosnian civilians from Brkici and Balagica Brdo hamlets, in Kljuc Municipality.
The Bosnian State Court pronounced a first instance verdict against Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija, sentencing him to 26 years in prison for these crimes. However, in May 2007 the verdict was revoked and a retrial was ordered.
During the course of the retrial audio recordings of the hearings held before the first instance Chamber were heard. Some new pieces of evidence were presented and the indictee was additionally examined. He began his testimony at the last hearing, held on September 29.
During his testimony Serbian war criminal said that he would have "stopped the murders committed in front of the school building in the Bosnian village of Biljani, had I known about them".
The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges that Samardzija ordered all Bosnian civilians to leave their houses in Biljani on July 10, 1992. After that they were taken to the local school building, in which they were detained and mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor.
"I did not know that those murders were going to happen. I found out about them the following day. When I took the civilians to the school in Biljani, I though that they were going to be examined about weapons and given movement permits," Samardzija said, adding that about 40 Bosnian civilians were killed in the vicinity of the school building.
Serbian war criminal said he thought that the Bosnian civilians, who were transferred to the Manjaca concentration camp, "would not be killed".
Serbian war criminal Marko Samardzija also said that he "was apprised of the incidents, which had happened in the Biljani area prior to July 10, 1992," but he could not assume that "something bad was going to happen on that date".