Lazar Mutlak has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping a Bosniak woman in Gorazde municipality in eastern Bosnia in May 1992.
The Belgrade Higher Court has opened the trial of Lazar Mutlak, a Bosnian Serb wartime reserve policeman and member of Srpsko Gorazde Territorial Defence, for raping a Bosniak women on May 25, 1992.
According to the indictment, Mutlak entered the house of another civilian in the village of Lozje, in Gorazde municipality, where among others was a women of Bosniak nationality.
Pointing a gun at her head, Mutlak ordered her to go with him to another room. When she refused, he forced her into the room and raped her. He then threatened her with a gun not to tell anyone about what had happened.
Mutlak pleaded not guilty.
He said he only entered the front yard of the house looking for car parts and that a women asked him inside, crying for help to leave the house.
“I just said I cannot help and that was all of my communication with her,” Mutlak said.
The event happened a few days after Bosnian Serbian forces attacked the village in eastern Bosnia.
Mutlak told the court that he had lived in Canada from 1998 to 2010, but that when he applied for Canadian citizenship, he was questioned about the alleged crime.
“In order to avoid complications with my family, I admitted [the crime] and came here, to answer before this court, in order not to be sent [to trial] in Sarajevo,” Mutlak said.
Serbia took over Mutlak’s case from Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the State Prosecutor’s Office indicted him in March 2019.
Srpsko Gorazde was after the end of the 1992-5 war renamed Novo Gorazde.