THE HAGUE | 15.07.2005.

DEFENCE CALLS FOR KUBURA'S ACQUITTAL

"There is not much we have to answer in the case against Amir Kubura," defense counsel says, adding that the prosecution arguments about the control of the 7th Muslim Brigade over the mujahedin were "based on assumptions"

Amir Kubura's defense called upon the judges today to acquit the former commander of the BH Army 7th Muslim Brigade. He is charged with failure to prevent or punish the crimes of his subordinate soldiers in Central Bosnia.

His lawyer Rodney Dixon notes that at the time when the alleged crimes were committed, Kubura was the chief of staff and was not appointed the brigade commander before 6 August 1993, after most of the crimes he is charged with had already been committed. The prosecutor has charged him with failure to punish, among other acts, the crimes committed by the mujahedin in the villages of Miletici and Maline and the abuse in the Zenica Music School and in the motel in Kakanj. The allegations for the period after August 1993 relate to the looting in Vares. The defense asks now whether they really amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Even if the judges conclude that Kubura had de facto command responsibility in the brigade before August 1993 due to the absence of the commander, the defense claims that the charges against him "have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt."

"There is not much we have to answer in the case against Amir Kubura," Dixon said, adding that the prosecution arguments about the control of the 7th Brigade over the mujahedin were "based on assumptions."

The Trial Chamber – composed of the French judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, Dutch judge Albertus Swart and Vonimbolana Rasoazanany, a judge from Madagascar – should render its judgment by the end of the year.