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ICTY President Fausto Pocar visits Bosnia

19. May 2008.00:00
Fausto Pocar expressed concern that Radovan Stankovic has not been arrested, even though almost a year has passed since his escape from Foca prison.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

During his visit to Sarajevo Fausto Pocar, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, expressed his concern over the fact that Radovan Stankovic, sentenced for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, is still at large even though it has been one year since he escaped from the prison.

As part of his three-day official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pocar met Zeljko Komsic, member of the State Presidency, in Sarajevo. They discussed Bosnia’s cooperation with the ICTY. An important aspect of Pocar’s visit is the collection of data related to Radovan Stankovic’s escape.

“Tomorrow, on May 20, I am traveling to Foca in order to obtain additional pieces of information about the mishap and to see what the situation is like in Foca. This will help me decide what recommendations I can convey to the international community in order to provide support,” Pocar said at the press conference held in the Presidency.

The State Court announced a second instance verdict against Radovan Stankovic, sentencing him to 20 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Foca municipality in 1992. He was referred to the Correctional Facility in Foca where he was supposed to serve his sentence. He escaped from the Facility on May 25, 2007.

“This would not have happened had there been an adequate facility, adequate prison and education of guards in it. It is clear that this cannot be achieved unless those institutions receive support. I spoke about this issue at a conference held in Sarajevo two years ago, when it was agreed that the prisons in this country needed support from the international community,” Pocar considers.

As already stated in several articles published by Justice Report, the competent investigative bodies in this country still do not have any news concerning Stankovic, who was the first indictee referred by the ICTY to Bosnia for further processing. In her interview with BIRN – Justice Report, conducted in April this year, the President of the State Court, Meddzida Kreso, said that she supposed that Stankovic was in Serbia.

The Hague Tribunal expressed its concern and dissatisfaction over the fact that Stankovic was not arrested, considering that this “deteriorates the reputation of judicial and other state institutions in Bosnia.”

Pocar asked the local judiciary to submit new pieces of information concerning Stankovic’s escape on several occasions. In July 2007 he asked them to submit a special report on the activities related to finding and arresting Stankovic.

The report was prepared by the Bosnian Ministry of Justice, which submitted it to The Hague under a “strictly confidential” label. The comments on the mentioned report have never been publicly announced.

Following Stankovic’s escape, Foca prison director, Aleksandar Cicmil, was dismissed from his duty, as well as a few servants. The State Prosecution opened several investigations against the persons considered to have helped Radovan Stankovic escape.

After the dismissal of Cicmil, Sinisa Golijanin, former policeman, was appointed as new director of the prison. In 2002, the IPTF made a decision to ban him from performing any job with law enforcement agencies.

The appointment generated interest among members of the international organizations in Bosnia, who addressed their concern to the Ministry of Justice of Republika Srpska.

In the course of his visit to Bosnia, President Pocar will meet representatives of judicial institutions and war victims associations.

This post is also available in: Bosnian