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Radovan Stankovic in Solitary Confinement

24. January 2012.00:00
Following his arrest on January 21 this year, Radovan Stankovic has been detained in solitary confinement in the Penal and Correctional Facility in Foca – Mustafa Bisic, Assistant Minister for Serving of Criminal Sentences with the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, confirms to BIRN-Justice Report.

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“Following his arrest, Stankovic has been held in solitary confinement, which, according to the law, may last for ten days,” Bisic said, explaining that Stankovic could only get a disciplinary measure for fleeing.

According to Bisic, a ten-day solitary confinement is one of the disciplinary measures.

Stankovic fled from the Foca Facility, where he was serving his 20-year sentence for war crimes in Foca. Under a second instance verdict pronounced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stankovic, former member of the Miljevina Battalion of the Foca Tactical Brigade with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, was sentenced for having participated in the capture, torture, rape and murder of Bosniak civilians during the course of 1992 and 1993.

The State Court’s verdict says that nine girls and young women aged between 12 and 24 were detained in the “Karaman” house in the period from April to October 1992. The Court determined that all of them were physically and mentally abused and raped in various ways, while Stankovic was found responsible for having raped three women.

Stankovic is the first war-crimes indictee whose case the Hague Tribunal transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina judicial institutions for further processing.

As explained by Bisic, after Stankovic has been held in solitary confinement for ten days, other disciplinary measures may be ordered in line with the Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in case of flight.

“The Law foresees that, after the person has been held in solitary confinement, he may be held in isolation from others for 30 days,” Bisic said, adding that the measure could be extended for another 30 days.

Isolation is the strictest measure, which implies that the convict is separated from others to a maximum extent. It is pronounced on prisoners, whose actions represent a threat to the system.

Bisic said that, following the isolation, he may be detained in a special section of a closed facility under increased supervision. The duration of this measure is not limited.

Bisic said that, once the second instance verdict came into force, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sent Stankovic to the Foca Facility, closed facility in Republika Srpska, in order to serve his sentence, bearing in mind the type of the crime and the sentence pronounced in his case.

“The Foca Facility and Banja Luka Facility are the only closed-type facilities in Republika Srpska. His transfer from this prison can only be requested by the Foca Facility. Considering the fact that Stankovic was sentenced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the final decision about it would be made by the Minister of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Bisic said.

According to Bisic, the Management of the Foca Facility might list Stankovic’s conduct and existence of a possibility that security and other aspects might be disturbed as the reasons for Stankovic’s transfer from the Foca Facility.

Bisic said that the reconstruction of the Foca Facility was conducted after Stankovic’s flight on May 25, 2007.

“When the flight happened, the Ministry of Justice of Republika Srpska rendered a decision to reconstruct the Foca Facility. Hence, a special section that can accommodate up to 54 persons has been built in Foca. Maximum security measures are applied within the Section, which was opened in July 2011. The Section is totally isolated from other buildings and other prisoners. It was built for high-risk persons,” Bisic said.

Dzerard Selman, Minister of Justice of Republika Srpska, RS, said that it was nearly impossible for Stankovic, who was held in the Special Section of the Foca Facility, to flee. However, Selman said that Stankovic did not co-operate with the Foca Facility staff at all.

“The only sentence that Stankovic has said referred to his family. He was sorry because he did not find his wife and children in the apartment in which he was arrested,” Selman said.

Under a second instance verdict pronounced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, seven Foca Facility guards were acquitted of the charges for assisting in Stankovic’s flight, while Brankica Davidovic and Ranka Dragicevic, who admitted guilt, were conditionally sentenced to six months. Convict Stankovic’s brother Ranko was sentenced to two years in prison for assisting in his flight.A.S.

This post is also available in: Bosnian