Verdict for Former RS Krajina Soldiers on Monday

Verdicts in the trials of Pane Bulat and Rade Vranesevic, former Republika Srpska Krajina soldiers charged with the murder of six Croat civilians in the town of Banski Kovacevac in Croatia in 1992, will be delivered on March 15 at the War Crimes Court in Belgrade.

The final speeches of the Prosecution and Defence have marked the end of trial, during which a total of 45 witnesses were called.

The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s office asked that the accused, Bulat and Vranesevic, be found guilty and receive sentences which reflect the severity of the crimes committed.

“The trial has brought forth all the necessary evidence,” the Deputy Prosecutor for War Crimes, Veselin Mrdak, said in the Prosecution’s final statement.

He added that in the opinion of the Prosecution, the two men acted willfully, knowingly and with intent to commit an offense. He also said that there were no mitigating circumstances to aid their defence.

The Prosecution argued that the only murder motive was the ethnicity of the victims, who were Croatian.

Bulat, deputy commander for security for the second battalion in the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina during the war, and Vranesevic, a former soldier from the same battalion, are indicted for the murder of six people in Croatia in 1992 in the city of Banski Kovacevci.

The victims ranged in age from 63 to 81 years old at the time of their death. After they were killed, their bodies were thrown into a well that was then blown up, according to the indictment.

The indictment was issued in April 2008 and the trial started in September the same year.

The cantonal court in Karlovac, Croatia, started an investigation into the incident after the war, but both men were residing in Serbia at that time. In accordance with an existing agreement between the two states, their case was transferred to the Special War Crimes Prosecution Office in Belgrade.

Bulat’s lawyer, Djordje Kalanj, requested acquittal for his client in his final statement, arguing that there was not enough evidence to prove that Bulat was guilty.

Zvonko Radovanovic, Vranesevic’ lawyer, has also requested acquittal, questioning the facts that appeared in the indictment.

“No evidence has confirmed the indictment allegations that Vranesevic took action that could qualify as a war crime,” Radovanovic said.

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