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Bosnia Charges Prosecutor with War Crimes Case Negligence

26. August 2015.00:00
State-level prosecutor Mirko Lecic is accused of negligently stalling an investigation into war crimes against Serb civilians in a village near Sarajevo for over four years.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Disciplinary prosecutor Mirza Hadziomerovic told a status conference on the case on Wednesday that Lecic was charged because he failed to look into the contents of a criminal complaint within an investigation for war crimes against Serb civilians in the village of Cemerno near Sarajevo from 2007 until early 2012, unacceptably delaying its progress.

According to Hadziomerovic, Lecic acted negligently because the case was not active for four years before being transferred to another prosecutor.

“This had a significant influence on the length of the entire proceedings and this investigation in which we have known perpetrators, and in a war crimes case in which we have significant public interest,” said Hadiomerovic.

Cemerno in the Ilijas municipality near Sarajevo was attacked in June 1992 by Bosniak forces and more than 30 civilians were killed. No one has been charged with any crimes committed there so far.

Last month, parliament in Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska voted for a referendum on the state-level prosecution and court because of its objections to alleged bias against Serb victims.

But prosecutor Lecic said that although the case was given to him in 2007, it was not true that he failed to look into the criminal complaint until 2012.

He explained that as early as 2009, he told the then head of the Bosnian state prosecution war crimes department, Vesna Budimir, that the case was about crimes in the Sarajevo region and not the Central Bosnia region for which he is responsible.

“Chief Budimir said that my team should send the case back to the registry office, which we did. The case stayed there for a while. When the electronic system for tracking cases was opened, you can see that I am not listed in charge of this case,” said Lecic.

“In 2012, a letter came in connection to this investigation and someone from the registry office came to me and said that the case is still listed as mine. I then filed an official request to transfer the case to the Sarajevo team,” he added.

Lecic said that in 2010, he and an associate conducted an analysis of all his cases, in which he mentioned that the Cemerno criminal complaint had been reviewed and that he recommended that it be transferred to another prosecutorial team.

The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council disciplinary commission scheduled the main hearing in the Lecic case for September 11.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian