Nikola Kovačević (before Daniluško Kajtez)
03.11.2006. Kovačević Nikola
22.06.2007. Kovačević Nikola
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Factual allegations in the Indictment
The Indictment alleges that, as a member of the SOS unit (Serbian Defense Forces) – subsequently a special unit of the Serb Territorial Defense for the Municipality of Sanski Most - the accused took part in a widespread and systematic attack of the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Territorial Defense, Police and paramilitary units against the Bosniak and Croat civilian populations on the greater Bosanska Krajina area (in particular the municipality of Sanski Most) in the period April – August 1992.
In the period of May – August 1992, as alleged in the Indictment, either alone or together with Milan Martić and other members of the army and police, the accused detained civilians in the facility of Betonirka, where they were subjected to torture.
It is further alleged in the Indictment that, in June and July 1992, together with other members of the army and police, Nikola Kovačević took part in taking civilians detained at a Police Station, Betonirka facility, Elementary School Hasan Kikić and the high school gym to the Manjača camp. In the course of the transport, the detained civilians were allegedly subjected to extreme abuse and severe beatings, with some of them subsequently disappearing.
The Indictment alleges that on 7 July 1992, together with other member of the army and police, Kovačević Nikola placed 60 detained civilians from the Betonirka facility onto the back of a truck (covered with canvas and lacking sufficient space), which the detainees were not allowed to lift. It is alleged that due to the enormous heat, injuries and exhaustion at least nineteen civilians suffocated.
The Indictment further alleges that, on the same day, the bodies of the dead civilians were placed on the truck, while other civilians who had tried to help them were not handed over to the Manjača camp but were taken to an unknown location, subsequently disappearing.
Counts in the Indictment:
Kovačević Nikola is charged with the criminal offense of Crime against Humanity from Article 172 (1), sub-paragraphs
of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Course of proceedings
The Court confirmed an indictment on 5 January 2006. The Accused pleaded not guilty at a hearing held on 20 January 2006. The trial in this case commenced on 20 April 2006. On 3 November 2006, the Trial Panel rendered the first instance verdict finding the Accused guilty of Crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment. On 22 June 2007, the Appellate Panel rendered the final verdict. The Appellate Panel refused the appeals filed by the Prosecutor's Office, the Accused and his Defence counsel and confirmed the Trial Panel’s verdict.