Identity ‘Mix-Up’ at Bosniak Soldier’s Trial

The defence for former Bosnian Army soldier Edin Dzeko, charged with wartime crimes against Croats, said that testimony about alleged assault and extortion was based on a mistaken identity.

In her closing statement in Dzeko’s trial at the Sarajevo court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Vasvija Vidovic called for a not guilty verdict, saying that the case against the former member of the Bosnian Army’s Zulfikar Squad had not been proved.

A protected witness at the trial, codenamed J-2, testified that Dzeko ordered three other soldiers to beat him with wooden bars and concrete blocks, and put a barrel filled with water on the top of his head, telling them: “Kill him, kill him!”

Dzeko is also accused of extorting 3,500 Deutschmarks from J-2 in return for sparing his life.

J-2 testified that the assault took place at the Rogica houses complex in Donja Jablanica in September 1993, where the Zulfikar Squad’s base was situated at the time.

He said that the abuse began when one of the soldiers pointed him out, saying: “Dzeko, this is that man.”

But Vidovic argued that the description provided by the witness did not match Dzeko. J-2 wrongly stated that the defendant was shorter than him and wore a hat, she said.

“Dzeko is significantly taller than him. He has never worn a hat. This was confirmed by numerous witnesses,” the defence lawyer said.

Vidovic also said that other witnesses had testified that another man nicknamed ‘Dzeki’, the former commander of the Bosnian Army’s Handzar Division, which was based in the Rogica houses as well, wore a hat.

“[J-2] simply mixed them up,” she said, adding that “the difference between Dzeki and Dzeko is very small”.

The verdict in the trial of Dzeko, who is also charged with executing six Croats in the village of Trusina in 1993, is due to be handed down on June 6.

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