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Bosnian Serb Ex-Minister Stanisic Demands Release

16. October 2013.00:00
Former interior minister Mico Stanisic asked the Hague Tribunal to quash his war crimes conviction because one of the judges, Frederik Harhoff, was removed from another case for alleged bias.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Stanisic, who is serving a 22-year sentence for war crimes, said that his verdict should be overturned because controversial Danish judge Harhoff was recently removed from the trial of Serbian Radical Party chief Vojislav Seselj over suspicions of bias.

“It is clear from the decision that removed him that judge Harhoff’s bias is not limited to certain set of circumstances, but that he showed his partiality in favour of sentencing all the accused,” Stanisic’s defence said in its motion to the Hague Tribunal’s appeals chamber.

Harhoff was removed from the Seselj trial after the defendant filed a motion claiming that the Danish judge was not impartial because he wanted to convict Serbs.

Seselj’s allegations were sparked by a leaked letter written by Harhoff, in which he criticised the court’s high-profile acquittals of Serbian and Croatian wartime commanders.

Stanisic’s defence argued that the severity of the violation of the Bosnian Serb ex-minister’s rights meant that the Tribunal should drop the prosecution entirely.

“The presence of a judge who showed unacceptable bias towards convicting all defendants regardless of the evidence is an obvious violation of the right to presumption of innocence and the right to defence of each of the accused,” the defence motion said.

In March this year, the Hague Tribunal sentenced Stanisic and another former Republika Srpska police official Stojan Zupljanin to 22 years in prison each for the expulsion of the Bosniak and Croat population in 1992, as well as murder, torture, deportations, robbery and the deliberate destruction of property.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian