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UN Justice Experts Condemn Trbic’s Release

20. November 2014.00:00
Human rights experts of the United Nations, UN, express fear the release of Milorad Trbic, whose verdict for genocide was quashed, might lead to the 're-victimization of victims'.

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A group of UN human rights experts has expressed concern after the Constitutional Court of BiH quashed the verdict under which Milorad Trbic was jailed 30 years for the 1995 genocide committed in Srebrenica.

“There is a serious risk that after being released this convict will flee the jurisdiction of this Court. The same thing happened recently with Novak Djukic, who was sentenced for war crimes,” the experts said.

In January 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina pronounced a second-instance verdict against Trbic, sentencing him, as Assistant Chief for Security with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, for having participated in the arrest, detention, execution, as well as burial and concealment of bodies of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, from July 10 to November 30.

He was the first person sentenced for genocide.

So far, the Constitutional Court of BiH has released 19 persons sentenced under second-instance verdicts, after it was determined that the Court of BiH wrongly applied the Bosnian Criminal Code instead of the Law of the former Yugoslavia, which is more favourable to perpetrators of grave crimes.

Following their release, the Court of BiH renewed the trials and pronounced shorter sentences.

The renewal of the trials followed a ruling by the European Court for Human Rights in the Maktouf and Damjanovic case.

“These decisions represent a slap in the face of the victims and seriously bring into question the protection of violence victims, re-victimization and intimidation,” the experts consider.

In objecting to his release, they added that, in the interest of justice, it was important not to release persons who have been sentenced for grave crimes until a new trial has taken place and sentences issed that are proportional to the gravity of the offences committed.

“These decisions fit into the troublesome trends advocated by certain centers, which say that persons sentenced for war crimes and genocide were the subject of unfair treatment… This type of discourse brings all chance of reconciliation into a serious danger,” the announcement, forwarded by the Court of BiH, says.

The announcement further says that the release of these persons undermines the efforts of the Court of BiH and international community to implement justice.

The UN experts who made the announcement are: Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Ariel Dulitzky of the Working Group on forced disappearances, Juan Mendez, Rapporteur on torture and cruel treatment, and Gabriela Knaul, Rapporteur on independence of judges.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian