Semir Mujkić

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18. June 2020.

Former Bosnian Army military policeman Adem Kostjerevac, who is accused of raping a pregnant Serb woman in Zvornik in 1992, was extradited from the US to Bosnia and Herzegovina to stand trial. The US Federal Court in Missouri on Monday approved an extradition request from Bosnia and Herzegovina for Adem Kostjerevac, who is wanted for trial in Sarajevo on war crimes charges.


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11. March 2020.
The UN court in The Hague postponed appeal hearings in the trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, who is challenging his conviction for genocide and other crimes, because he needs to undergo surgery.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague said on Wednesday that it has postponed appeal hearings that were set for next week in the trial of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic so he can undergo an operation.

The appeal hearings, at which Mladic’s lawyers were to challenge the verdict sentencing him to life imprisonment for wartime crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina including the Srebrenica genocide, were due to be held on March 17 and 18.

The judges said in their decision that Mladic is to have surgery “to remove a polyp in his colon”.

His recovery from the operation is expected to take “up to six weeks”, they added.

They therefore delayed the appeal hearings to around six weeks after the operation.

Mladic, 76, has had several serious health problems while in detention in the Netherlands and has suffered two strokes and a heart attack.

His defence has repeatedly complained about the medical care that he has received in custody and asked for him to be released for hospital treatment.

The UN court sentenced Mladic to life imprisonment in November 2017, finding him guilty of genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the population of Sarajevo during the siege of the city, and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Mladic appealed against the verdict, as did the Hague prosecution, which is calling for him to be found guilty of genocide in six other municipalities in 1992.

A date for the final verdict has not yet been set, but Carmel Agius, president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, has said it will be delivered by the end of this year.

Mladic’s final verdict should have been handed down earlier than that, but following a challenge from the defence, three judges were removed from the trial after Mladic accused them of bias.

New judges were then appointed who needed time to familiarise themselves with the case.


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10. March 2020.
In the first case of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the state court acquitted Gavrilo Stevic of going to join a pro-Russian separatist unit in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The state court in Sarajevo on Tuesday found Gavrilo Stevic not guilty of going to fight abroad, in the first case in Bosnia and Herzegovina against a defendant accused of involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

Presiding judge Branko Peric said the prosecution had not proved that in July 2014, Stevic went via Belgrade, Moscow and Rostov-on-Don to Ukraine, where he joined the Jovan Sevic paramilitary unit together with several other Bosnian citizens.

“After having assessed the evidence in its entirety, the chamber cannot conclude beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crimes with which he is charged,” Peric said.

He said that Stevic had admitted being in Luhansk in a separatist-controlled area of eastern Ukraine, but that there was only one photograph of him that might suggest he joined the pro-Russian unit.

“His stay in the area and one picture cannot be considered evidence that he joined a paramilitary formation. It could be concluded on the basis of that photo that it was bragging, rather than a real situation,” Peric said.

Stevic told prosecutors that he went to Ukraine as a journalist and writer, not as a fighter.

Peric said that prosecution evidence obtained about Stevic from the internet or newspaper articles “could only serve as information during an investigation”, not during the trial.

The prosecution had claimed that Stevic was given a handgun and patrolled checkpoints when he was a member of the unit, receiving a monthly salary of 500 euros.

It also claimed that Stevic received help from the Serbian nationalist Ravnogorski Movement to get to Ukraine, and travelled from Belgrade with a group of volunteers.

The verdict can be appealed.