Prosecution Seeks Sijekovac Massacre Conviction

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, April 25, 2014
Posted in category Balkans, Bosnia Hertegovina
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In its closing arguments at the trial for crimes committed in Bosanski Brod, the prosecution said Zemir Kovacevic should be found guilty of killing, looting and the illegally arrest of Bosnian Serb civilians in 1992.

Prosecutor Mirza Hukeljic on Wednesday said it was proven that Kovacevic was guilty of participating in the killings of nine Serbian civilians in the village of Sijekovac on March 26 in 1992, burning and looting houses in the village and arresting and taking civilians to perform hard labour in August 1992.

Hukeljic said that all the prosecution witnesses had recalled that armed conflict in the Bosanski Brod area started on March 3, 1992, with the shelling of the town, which a military expert, Ramiz Dugalic, confirmed.

“Many witnesses recalled that they saw the defendant in uniform. Kovacevic was a former fighter with the First Bosanski Brod Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, later known as the 101st Bosanski Brod Brigade of the HVO, so there are no doubts that he knew about the armed conflict,” said Hukeljic.

Hukeljic said the killings of the Serbian civilians in Sijekovac were seen by witnesses Milja Zecevic and Sasa Milosevic, who said they saw Kovacevic firing a gun.

“Many witnesses confirmed that members of the intervention squad – Kovacevc among them – were setting houses on fire after the killings, which caused great material loss,” the prosecution added.

According to Hukeljic, the prosecution had presented enough evidence to establish Kovacevic’s guilt, and that civilians were forced to undertake hard labour, digging the tranches at the front lines, which was life threatening.

The prosecutor said there were no mitigating circumstances, and he pointed out his behaviour during the trial as an aggravating factor.

“I ask the Council to analyze the defendant’s behaviour towards the witnesses. On several occasions, he was insulting witnesses, who were family members of the killed persons,” the prosecutor said.

Kovacevic’s defence will present its closing arguments on April 23.

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