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Psychologist Says Serb Defendants Sane Despite Troubled Youths

March 23, 1993

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The main defendant in Bosnia’a first war crimes trial was unhappy as a youth, became an alcoholic and slit his wrists four times, but cannot claim insanity as a defense, a psychologist has testified.

Dr. Boro Djukanovic said Serb soldier Borislav Herak, who has confessed to killing 30 war prisoners and civilians, had subnormal intelligence and schizophrenic tendencies, but was accountable for his actions.

The doctor’s testimony on Monday was based on examinations that he and three psychiatrists conducted Sunday on Herak, co-defendant Sretko Damjanovic, and Nada Tomic, a woman charged with harboring goods looted by the two soldiers.

The trial, which began March 12, marks the Bosnian government’s first attempt to prove in court that Serb nationalist forces have committed rapes and massacres on a systematic basis during the nearly one-year-old war.

Djukanovic said Herak slit his wrists four times, and apparently enjoyed seeing his own blood, but lacked the depressive tendencies that characterize suicidal personalities.

He said Herak was looked down upon by his father, had few friends and no girlfriends, and had low self-esteem.

Defense lawyers had suggested that Herak should not be held responsible for his actions because of his mental condition. They also said his alcoholism should be viewed as a mitigating factor.

Djukanovic said Damjanovic was beaten by his father during an unhappy childhood, and as an adult beat his father. But he said Damjanovic was of normal intelligence and was not insane.

Herak, in addition to confessing 30 murders and numerous rapes, has implicated Damjanovic in the murder of a captured Muslim girl who was gang- raped.

Damjanovic has denied all charges against him, saying he was beaten into falsely confessing five murders and two rapes.

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