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Resignation of State Constitutional Court Judges Requested

19. November 2013.00:00
The release to liberty of ten war crimes and genocide convicts has brought war-crimes victims into a situation whereby they have become victims of the system nearly 20 years after the war. In order to prevent that from happening, they call on the judges of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to resign.

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“I am a double victim now. I was first a victim of the criminals, who have now been released. Then I also became a victim of the system,” said Munira Subasic, President of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves.

She called on the judges of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to submit their resignation letters, because she considered that they did not do what they were supposed to do.

“The Strasbourg Court made a decision, saying that a new trial should be held in the case against Damjanovic and Maktouf, but it has not rendered such decision in the case of these other criminals,” Subasic said, adding that she felt sad and that this represented the murder of witnesses and victims and all the things that happened in the past.

According to Subasic, many mothers are crying now, particularly those, who appeared as witnesses at the Kravica trial and have now returned to Srebrenica. Subasic said that the mothers said that they would pack their luggage, because they could not face the criminals and the fact that they were free.

Accepting decisions rendered by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina made a decision, discontinuing the serving of sentences by ten people who were sentenced for war crimes in Jajce and Capljina and genocide in Srebrenica. According to the mentioned State Court’s decision, all the ten persons have been released to liberty. 

The following individuals, who were previously sentenced for having committed genocide, have now been released to liberty: Slobodan Jakovljevic (sentenced to 28 years in prison), Aleksandar Radovanovic (32), Branislav Medan (28), Brane Dzinic ( 32), Milenko Trifunovic  (33) and Petar Mitrovic (28).

Jakovljevic, Radovanovic, Medan, Dzinic, Trifunovic and Mitrovic were sentenced for genocide, because they participated in the shooting of about 1,000 Srebrenica residents in the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica, Bratunac.

The following persons were sentenced for having committed war crimes in Jajce municipality: Milorad Savic (21 years in prison), Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez (14) and Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez (29).

The Pekez’s and Savic participated in the shooting of about 20 civilians, including women and children, in a place known as Tisovac, Jajce municipality. Nikola Andrun, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for committing war crimes in Gabela detention camp, near Capljina, has also been released to liberty.
Hasan Nuhanovic from Srebrenica, who won a case related to the murder of his father and brother in which the Netherlands was found guilty, said that impunity had not been eradicated in Bosnia and Herzegovina before this decision. 

“We have a situation whereby those, who were sentenced under second instance verdicts, are now joining those, who have still not been sentenced or should be sentenced in the future, transparently, before our eyes and in our presence. As someone, who lost his entire family in the genocide in Srebrenica, I now get a message that committing genocide pays off,” Nuhanovic told BIRN-Justice Report.

He further said that “the war criminals will be at liberty for at least three months”.

“This has never been recorded in history before. We are not talking about ordinary crimes, but genocide. This brings discomfort among victims. This is not just about our feelings being hurt, but our security being endangered too. This means that they are here, among us. How do we know where they are at present? People appeared at trials and testified against them. They are now free. They represent a potential threat to the witnesses,” Nuhanovic explained. 

Murat Tahirovic, President of the Association of Genocide Victims and Witnesses, said that the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina made a mistake back in 2005, which was now reflected in the fact that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina released the convicts.

“I think that they are making a mistake again, because this is not a meritum, but a procedural mistake. I consider that they should now design a model for keeping the convicts in custody until conditions for their retrials have been met,” Tahirovic said.

According to Tahirovic, victims are deprived of justice, and its attainment has again proved impossible for all victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This is yet another victory of crime perpetrators and defeat of victims. That is how the things stand. Might makes right,” said Tahirovic.

Considering the fact that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina now has to deal again with the cases completed a couple of years ago, Andjelko Kvesic, President of the Croatian Association of Detainees from the Homeland War thinks that some crimes will come to courts in about 2020, adding that most of the survivors will no longer be alive.

“The work of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is neither good, of good quality, fair nor objective,” Kvesic said.

This post is also available in: Bosnian