Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Krajisnik Defence Struggles to Prove Illegal Arms Trading

(TU No 437, 27-Jan-06)
The confessions were supplied by the latest defence witness, Tomislav Savkic, who was a member of the Bosnian branch of the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, and mayor of the Milici district in Bosnia's Vlasenica municipality, at the time of the conflict. He had been given the statements by the chief of the security station in Vlasenica, he said.

Lawyers representing Krajisnik have been using evidence of violence and aggression against Bosnian Serbs to counter the indictment's claims that the accused "planned, instigated, ordered and committed" persecutions of Bosnian Muslims and Croats in 1991 and 1992.

Krajisnik is charged with one count of genocide, one count of complicity to genocide, one of violations of the laws and customs of war and five of crimes against humanity for his alleged participation in this ethnic cleansing.

The indictment cites two specific attacks in Vlasenica, one of which, in the village of Zaklopaca, involved the killing of over 60 Bosnian Muslim or Croat men, women and children in May 1992.

When asked by defence co-counsel David Josse why the Muslims were smuggling arms, Savkic said that "the purpose was to arm citizens with weapons so they could perform acts of sabotage".

Prosecutor Alan Tieger objected to the confessions being admitted as evidence, to which Josse argued that the statements were "no less admissible than the newspaper articles frequently used as evidence by the prosecution".

However, the presiding Judge Alphonse Orie upheld the prosecution's submission that the confessions had been given under duress shortly after the two men had been arrested and nterrogated by Serb forces.

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