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Bosnian Serb Police Officials Await Final Verdict

29. June 2016.16:25
The Hague Tribunal is to deliver its final verdict on former senior Bosnian Serb police officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin, who were previously convicted of persecuting non-Serbs.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The UN war crimes court will hand down its final verdict on Thursday in the trial of Mico Stanisic, the wartime interior minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, and Stojan Zupljanin, who was the chief of the regional police HQ in the entity’s main city, Banja Luka.

In the first instance verdict in March 2013, the Hague Tribunal sentenced Stanisic and Zupljanin to 22 years in prison each.

Both of them were found guilty of persecution, murder and torture of Bosniaks and Croats from April to December 1992, while Zupljanin was also convicted of extermination.

Both defendants, as well as the prosecutors, filed appeals against that verdict. Stanisic and Zupljanin have asked the Tribunal to acquit them of all charges or reduce their sentences. The Hague prosecutors said in their appeal that the first instance sentences were inappropriate considering the gravity of the men’s crimes and that they should be increased to between 30 and 40 years in prison.

The two men were found guilty in the first instance verdict of committing crimes in about 20 municipalities within a joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcibly and permanently removing Bosniaks and Croats from large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina which were intended to become parts of a new Serb state.

The verdict said that Stanisic and Zupljanin participated in the enterprise although they “could foresee” that it implied the commission of crimes against the non-Serb population. The murder of about 200 Bosniak captives at Koricanske Stijene on Mount Vlasic in August 1992 and the shooting of more than 100 people at the Keraterm detention camp in July 1992were among the gravest crimes described in the verdict.

According to the verdict, these crimes were committed by police forces over which Stanisic and Zupljanin had effective control.

They were also convicted of responsibility for crimes committed by the Territorial Defence forces and the Yellow Wasps and White Eagles paramilitary groups, which “executed at least 497 prisoners” in Zvornik in late May and early June 1992, the verdict said.

During the first instance trial and appeals hearings, defence lawyers for Stanisic and Zupljanin denied the existence of the joint criminal enterprise.

Stanisic surrendered to the Tribunal voluntarily in March 2005, while the Serbian authorities arrested Zupljanin in Pancevo in June 2008.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian