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Banja Luka, archive. Photo: BIRN BiH
The Republika Srpska Supreme Court has still not held a session to discuss a prosecution appeal against the acquittal of Milan Macura, a dental technician from Banja Luka, who was the first person ever indicted for terrorism in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity.
Macura was acquitted under a first-instance verdict that was handed down in November 2019 following a retrial.
The Supreme Court confirmed to BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina that the Macura case is at the court, but the appeal session has not been held yet and is not planned to be held in February, according to the court’s calendar.
Under the first-instance verdict handed down by the District Court in Banja Luka on November 15, 2019, Macura was acquitted of terrorism.
He had been accused of posting a message on Instagram, saying he was “the ideal material for suicide” and asking “if someone could give me 150 kilogrammes of C4 explosives so I can blow up Zimzograd” – an event held in Banja Luka to mark the winter holidays.
The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Republika Srpska told BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina that it filed an appeal for acquittal that a year ago, on February 7, 2020, but no decision on it has been made yet.
“The Prosecutor’s Office filed the appeal due to substantive violations of provisions of the criminal proceedings and violations of the criminal code, as well as due to wrongly or incompletely determined factual status,” the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office said.
Macura’s case was transferred to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office by the District Prosecution in Banja Luka in October 2017.
Macura’s defence lawyer Dragan Stupar also confirmed that no decision has been made in the case after the Banja Luka District Court’s verdict in November 2019.
Under the first-instance verdict from October 2018, Macura was given a suspended sentence, but the Republika Srpska Supreme Court upheld a defence appeal and quashed the verdict, ordering a retrial in September 2019.
Explaining the decision, the Supreme Court said that “the substance of the criminal offence of terrorism must contain two basic elements, namely the execution and goal”.
The indictment alleged, among other things, that Macura threatened to commit a terrorist act with the aim of seriously intimidating the public and seriously disturbing and destroying the basic constitutional, political, economic and social structures of Republika Srpska because he was dissatisfied with the political, economic and social situation.
During the trial he said he published the message on Instagram under his full name, that he did not want to frighten people, and that the comment was intended as a “joke, irony and satire”.