The chief engineer of the Zvornik Brigade "was involved" in the VRS’ Srebrenica operation "mostly as a common soldier," Dragan Jokic’s defense claims in closing arguments

“Dragan Jokic, as the chief engineer of the Zvornik brigade, never took command over the engineer unit," Jokic's defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic stated in his closing argument at the Tribunal’s second trial for the crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995.

As the trial draws to a close—following closing arguments by the prosecution and by the defense for the first accused, former Bratunac Brigade commander Vidoje Blagojevic--Dragan Jokic's defense counsel presented his closing argument, calling upon the Chamber to acquit his client on all counts of the indictment. He is charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.

Jokic's counsel claims the prosecution "failed to prove his responsibility for the detention, murder and burial of the Srebrenica Muslims in mass graves in the Bratunac and Zvornik areas." The defense is not calling into question Jokic's position as chief engineer and staff officer of the Zvornik Brigade, nor his duties stemming from this position. But it denies that those duties included the "command and control of the engineer company of the brigade and coordinating the use of machinery on crime scenes."

“Dragan Jokic as a staff officer cannot issue any orders. He can only relay orders, as the evidence shows," Stojanovic said. The defense counsel further explained that as the chief engineer, Jokic's role was purely "advisory." Orders were issued by the commander of the engineer company, pursuant to the orders of the brigade commander, “merely seeking the opinion of the chief engineer," the defense counsel explained.

Defense counsel described how on 13 July, the day before he took over as Zvornik Brigade duty officer, Jokic "was far removed from the events in Srebrenica" because he was "digging up plum and cherry trees for fuel with a group of common soldiers." The defense tried to underscore Jokic's ignorance of the Srebrenica operation as he was about to take over as duty officer in the Zvornik brigade. The prosecution claims that as duty officer, Jokic "relayed, directed and coordinated information related to the use of the machinery of the Zvornik Brigade at sites where the civilians from Srebrenica were executed and buried."

Dragan Jokic “did not participate in any crime and he had no idea what was going on," his defense counsel said, explaining that the chief engineer of the Zvornik Brigade was mostly employed "as a common soldier." Jokic, his defense claims, could not have participated or aided in the joint criminal enterprise with which he is charged because "not only did he not knowingly aid the perpetrators of the crimes, but he did not know what the goal of the joint criminal enterprise was."

"The only just decision would be to acquit him," concluded Miodrag Stojanovic, Dragan Jokic's defense counsel.