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Foca Trial - Defendant claims he was incapable of rape

Tribunal Update 191 Last Week in The Hague (September 18-23, 2000)
By IWPR

The court is now awaiting medical reports on defendant Zoran Vukovic, who claims he was not capable of committing the rapes because of an injury to his genitals.


Vukovic defence lawyers said the accused ruptured his testis when he fell on a piece of wood in May 1992 before the alleged assaults took place.


When asked by the prosecution whether a man suffering such an injury could still desire and seek sexual stimulation, expert witness Dusko Dunjic said it was possible, but that resultant pain would probably lead to swift abandonment of such attempts.


Witness statements from Vukovic's alleged victims, however, consistently claimed the accused forced them to have oral sex.


Co-accused Dragoljub Kunarac's defence was that he was "seduced" by a female Bosniak detainee. The accused claims he had sexual intercourse only once with the woman and against his will.


The third co-accused Radomir Kovac claims he was involved in a "serious relationship" with one of the women allegedly raped.


According to the indictment against Kovac, four women were kept for several months at his flat in Foca. Three of the women gave evidence at the trial, the fourth has been listed as missing. One of the girls, witness 87, told the court Kovac raped her repeatedly during her period at the flat, kept her in constant fear and later sold her to a group of Montenegrins for 500 German marks. The evidence from these three witnesses form the basis of the charges of rape and sexual enslavement levelled against Kovac.


Defence witnesses claim, however, that witness 87 was Kovac's "girlfriend", whom he loved and tried to protect. Several of Kovac's friends and relatives appeared for the defence as protected witnesses. One, a café owner from Foca, said the accused was "gentlemanly" towards the girl on the one occasion they came to his café.


The defence denies the charge Kovac sold witness 87 and one other girl to Montenegrins. On the contrary the defence claims Kovac sent the girls to Montenegro for their own protection. One witness said Kovac paid two Montenegrins to take the girls to safety. According to the defence the girls later wrote a thank you letter to Kovac which they signed with a heart.


The prosecution challenged the defence witness statements as illogical. All the witnesses said they had never asked Kovac how or where he had met witness 87, even though they each conceded it was highly unusual at the time for a Bosnian Serb soldier to have a Bosniak girlfriend.


The witnesses said they had not heard Bosniak women, including the four allegedly held at Kovac's flat, were being detained at the Partisan Sports Hall and the so-called Karaman's House. Former detainees claim to have been repeatedly raped by Bosnian Serb soldiers at both locations.


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