In its closing argument, the defense calls for the acquittal of General Rasim Delic. The El Mujahid Detachment, the defense notes, reported to the Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan and to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. The detachment's relationship with the BH Army was one of ‘cooperation’
'We do not expect an acquittal on the basis of factors that go beyond the framework of this case. The facts speak clearly in favor of it’, Vasvija Vidovic said as she began the closing arguments at the trial of the former commander of the BH Army General Staff, General Rasim Delic.
The evidence called at the trial, the defense counsel noted, showed that the prosecution case was 'unclear, unconvincing and unsubstantiated'. It was based on 'constructed facts and fabricated orders'. In Vidovic's view, the prosecution created a 'multicolored patchwork of different fabrics’ by using only parts that suited him from different documents ‘to make a senseless jigsaw puzzle’.
The defense criticized the prosecution for 'influencing witnesses in a most flagrant manner'. As the defense counsel put it, the witnesses had to agree with what the investigators put to them. Their words were not recorded accurately by the investigators: when the witnesses spoke about Arabs, the investigators wrote down ‘El Mujahid Detachment’. The totality of the testimonies heard at trial leads to the conclusion that the BH Army command did not exercise control over either the Mujahideen or the El Mujahid Detachment, the defense counsel added.
Since Delic is charged with failure to prevent and punish the crimes committed by the members of the El Mujahid Detachment in 1993 and 1995, the defense counsel wanted to sever the link that the prosecution alleges existed between the detachment and General Delic. The defense counsel contended that the El Mujahid Detachment 'cooperated with the BH Army' but was not under its control and command. Combat reports were sent to the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan, she explained. Sheik Anwar Shaban, who founded and ran the Center, was the 'real authority' in the El Mujahid Detachment. The detachment also sent reports to the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, the defense counsel went on to say, and the organization decided who would go to Bosnia to fight and which unit they would join.
The Mujahideen 'operated like a gang, not respecting the Bosnian authorities; they followed orders of their superiors, disparaging the BH Army', the defense counsel stressed. They operated independently and their only relationship with the BH Army was one of ‘cooperation’.
Even if the detachment had been under the BH Army control, the defense counsel argued, the position of the detachment, purportedly subordinated to the 35th Division of the BH Army 3rd Corps, was 'too far removed' from the commander of the General Staff for him to receive reports on what the subordinate units did. The reports were kept back on lower levels of command and by the time Delic got the information, it was presented in general terms, the defense counsel said. Therefore, she concluded, Delic didn't know and could not have known about the crimes.
The defense and the prosecution will complete their closing arguments tomorrow. The prosecution will then call for a sentence for the accused Delic.