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Further information on EXTRA 32/93 (EUR 63/07/93, 19 March) -Bosnia- Herzegovina: fear of death penalty: Borislav Herak, Sretko Damjanovic (includes correction)

, رقم الوثيقة: EUR 63/008/1993

Borislav Herak and Sretko Damjanovic, two Serbs, were sentenced to death by a military court in Sarajevo on 30 March 1993 on charges of genocide, rape and looting.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 63/08/93
Distr: UA/SC
30 March 1993
Further information on EXTRA 32/93 (EUR 63/07/93, 19 March 1993) - Fear of
death penalty
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA:Borislav Herak, 22
Sretko Damjanovi_, 31
Borislav Herak and Sretko Damjanovi_, two Serbs, were sentenced to death by
a military court in Sarajevo on 30 March 1993 on charges of genocide, rape
and looting.
Borislav Herak, who earlier in the trial had said he wished to be punished
by the death penalty, admitted to raping 16 Muslim women and killing 11 of
them. On 30 March he reportedly told the court he deserved the death penalty.
However, his co-defendant, Sretko Damjanovi_, has denied the charges against
him and claims that he was forced to make a false confession by guards who
beat him in prison following his arrest in November 1992. A court-appointed
doctor instructed by the court to examine him during the trial reportedly
concluded that he bore scars consistent with these allegations. Sretko
Damjanovi_ has said that he will appeal against his sentence.
At the trial psychiatric experts reportedly testified that Sretko Damjanovi_
was sane and responsible for his actions but concluded that Borislav Herak's
mental state was one of diminished responsibility. Borislav Herak's lawyer
argued that the court-appointed psychiatrists had not proved that his client
was able to control his actions.
According to press reports, the main evidence has been supplied by Borislav
Herak's testimony which incriminated both himself and Sretko Damjanovi_;
corroborating evidence has apparently been meagre. His lawyer argued that
Borislav Herak could not be convicted, under Bosnian law, solely on the basis
of his own testimony. Sretko Damjanovi_'s lawyer pointed to inconsistencies
in Borislav Herak's testimony and concluded that he had made it up. Both lawyers
reportedly disputed the court's jurisdiction with regard to charges of genocide,
questioning whether the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina was a signatory to
the Geneva Conventions. They argued that if the Geneva Conventions applied
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, their clients should have been treated and tried as
prisoners of war. The court rejected these arguments.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express and airmail letters either in
English, French, German or in your own language:
- recognizing the extraordinary gravity of the crimes of which Borislav Herak
and Sretko Damjanovi_ have been convicted;
- recalling that Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned gross human
rights abuses perpetrated in the context of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
in particular deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians and disarmed or
wounded combatants, arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians and the torture
and ill-treatment, including rape, of detainees;
- recalling that Amnesty International has repeatedly urged that those
responsible for these human rights abuses be brought to justice;
Page 2 of EXTRA 32/93
- expressing concern that Borislav Herak and Sretko Damjanovi_ have been
sentenced to death by a military court in Sarajevo on 30 March 1993;
- explaining Amnesty International's unconditional opposition to the death
penalty in all cases, as a violation of the right to life and the right not
to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishmnet;
- urging that if either or both of these death sentences are upheld on appeal
the President exercise his authority to grant clemency and commute the
sentences.
APPEALS TO
His Excellency Mr Alija Izetbegovi_
President of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
c/o H.E. Mr Muhamed Sacirbey
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
1345 Avenue of the Americas
43rd floor
New York, N.Y.10105
USA
Faxes: + 1 212 8675416
[Please note that because of the difficulty of sending communications to
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Amnesty International is making an EXCEPTION in this
particular case in asking its members to write/fax c/o a government's UN
representative]
Letters may also be sent to the Mr Alija Izetbegovi_ at the Bosnian Government's
offices in Croatia:
His Excellency Mr Alija Izetbegovi_
Predsjednik Republike Bosne i Hercegovine
Privremeni Ured Republike Bosne i Hercegovine
Savska 41
41000 Zagreb
Croatia
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: diplomatic representatives of the government of
Bosnia-Herzegovina accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office if sending appeals after 12 May 1993.

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