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Investigation on Tesanjka Bombing Still Pending

8. October 2015.00:00
An investigation into the air missile attack on the settlement of Tesanjka in the municipality of Tesanj has been stalled due to a lack of archival documentation and disagreements over the jurisdiction of the case.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The attack took place on the afternoon of October 8, 1995, when several bombs were dropped from Bosnian Serb Army aircraft onto the settlement of Tesanjka. The aircraft flew from the direction of Banja Luka. The attack left nine people dead and approximately 50 civilians wounded. The youngest victim was seven years old while the oldest was 68.

The state prosecution filed a criminal charge against the unknown perpetrators for the perpetration of war crimes against the civilian population. However, the state prosecution can’t find archival documentation from the Bosnian Serb Army about their aviation activities in this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Several investigative actions were conducted within the case, which involves the examination of witnesses, expert opinions, as well as searching through military documentation related to the flight’s logbook in order to establish the identity of the pilots as well as the people who conducted the bombardments,” the state prosecution states.

The state prosecution says the biggest roadblock in the investigation is the lack of documentation on the attack in the archives of the Bosnian Serb Army and General Staff.

An investigation into the attack was launched by the state prosecution in early 2014. The case had previously caused disagreements between the state prosecution and the cantonal prosecution of Zenicko-Dobojski regarding the jurisdiction of the case.

As per the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes, the case was referred from the cantonal prosecution of Zenicko-Dobojski to the state prosecution for review at the end of April 2008. That same year, it was returned for further improvements to the cantonal prosecution, which then returned again it to the state prosecution.

According to the National Strategy for Processing War Crimes, all less sensitive cases are transferred for further processing to entity courts and prosecutorial offices, while highly sensitive cases remain under the jurisdiction of the state prosecution.

The criteria for the evaluation of a case’s complexity includes the gravity of the criminal offense, and the function the suspect or defendant performed during that time period.

“The case was finally taken over as per a state prosecution decision from January 29, 2015. This prosecutorial office has been working on this case for a little less than four years,” said Redzio Delic, deputy chief prosecutor of the canton of Zenicko-Dobojski.

After multiple delays caused by the question of the case’s jurisdiction, the state prosecution states that it “sincerely hopes to find the archival documentation of the Bosnian Serb Army and be able to prosecute those responsible”.

Arnes Grbešić

This post is also available in: Bosnian