Saric Trial Still on Hold, Pending Responses from Hague Tribunal and Foreign Governments

18. January 2016.00:00
A status conference was held today in the case of Goran Saric, who’s been charged with participating in the Srebrenica genocide. The state prosecution said it would most probably know which foreign citizens with lifted UN immunity would agree to testify in the next two weeks.

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Saric, the former commander of the Special Brigade of the Republika Srpska police, has been charged with commanding police forces which participated in the search, disarmament and forcible resettlement of women, children and the elderly in the vicinity of Bratunac and Srebrenica, as well as with the detention of men and boys who were later executed in July 1995.

The last hearing in the case was held on November 9, 2015. The prosecution has attempted to have more witnesses appear in court in the meantime.

Prosecutor Ibro Bulic said in late December 2015 he sent a request for testimony via video link to four citizens of the Netherlands through the Dutch ministry of justice. The citizens were officers with the Dutch Battalion, which was in Srebrenica in 1995.

Bulic said he still hadn’t received any response from the Netherlands, adding that he had urged a response through the Dutch Embassy as well.

The prosecution has also asked the US government to allow the testimony of a military expert who was previously examined before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Bulic said they also contacted Australia’s ministry of justice to help it get in touch with a former Hague Tribunal investigator from that country.

Bulic said he hadn’t received any new pieces of information concerning testimony by former UN military observer Jozef Kingori. According to his findings, Bulic said, Kingori was in poor health. The chamber requested that the prosecution invest additional efforts to obtain information related to Kingori, since more than a month had passed since the last hearing.

Bulic said he was also waiting for a response from the Hague Tribunal concerning a request to lift protection measures for one witness. Bulic said pending on all these pieces of information and responses, he would propose that the witness’s previous statements be read if they would not appear in court to testify.

The prosecution is also interested in testimony by Dragan Obrenovic and Momir Nikolic, whom the Hague Tribunal sentenced to 17 and 20 years respectively for crimes committed in Srebrenica. Bulic said the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) had not managed to find Obrenovic, while Nikolic had previously refused to testify before the Bosnian state court at other trials.

Bulic proposed that the chamber accept transcripts of previous testimony given by Obrenovic and Nikolic. The defense said Nikolic would be returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that the Hague Tribunal considered his credibility questionable.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian