Gavrilo Stevic, the first person charged in Bosnia and Herzegovina with fighting in Ukraine, told BIRN after his acquittal why he went to the country’s war-ravaged east and how a Chetnik ‘duke’ tried to convince him to take up arms.
The pace of war crimes prosecutions is too slow, with several thousand suspects still unindicted, and the conviction rate is too low, the outgoing chief of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bruce Berton, told BIRN.
Former Bosnian Serb special police brigade commander Goran Saric, who was acquitted of involvement in the Srebrenica genocide, said that the killings of Bosniaks in July 1995 happened, but questioned whether the massacres were planned in advance.
As Theodor Meron nears the end of his term as president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, he told BIRN that the UN war crimes court “fundamentally changed how we think about accountability” for the gravest crimes.
Bosnia’s state-level Constitutional Court faces everyday pressure from political forces that don’t want to accept rulings that go against their ethnic base, its newly-appointed president Zlatko Knezevic told BIRN.
Prosecutions of the most significant war crimes, corruption and organised crime cases slowed last year, but the head of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council insists that the focus in 2018 will be on dealing with high-level suspects.