UN judges order retrial for Serbian intelligence chiefs

UN judges have ordered retrial for two senior Serb officials who have been exculpated of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2013

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Franko Simatovic (top R) and Jovica Stanisic (top C) sit in the courtroom prior to the Trial Chamber Judgement at the International Criminal Court

United Nations judges in The Hague have ordered the retrial of Serbian intelligence chiefs, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic who were absolved in 2013 of committing atrocities during the Balkan wars in the 1990s.

Fausto Pocar, a UN judge, reversed the court's decision of acquittal and ordered the detention of both men for a new trial.

He said the former trial judges had been mistaken in their verdicts about Jovica Stanisic, former head of Serbia's State Security Service (DB), and Franko Simatovic, an officer in the DB.

On this issue, Eric Gordy, a Balkans expert at the school of Slavonic and east European studies at University College London, stated, “This is a decision that offers some hope, and helps to restore some of the damaged reputation of ICTY.”

Bosnia arrests and charges ethnic Serbs over Srebrenica

Bosnia arrested former ethnic Serb police commander Milan Bogdanovic who is suspected of taking part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Muslim in Europe.

Bosnia has also charged him with the atrocity.

A war crimes prosecutor's statement announced that Bogdanovic was responsible for a police unit that had the aim of arresting Muslims who had come to Srebrenica in order to escape Serb forces.

These people were first held in a stadium in Nova Kasaba, near Srebrenica and "then, some 500 people were handed over to military police and taken to the execution sites," said in the statement.

Moreover, the unit "participated in the executions and burial (in mass graves) of dozens of detainees," it said.

Bosnian officials also arrested Srecko Acimovic on December 1, who has been charged with the execution of "at least 1,040 men and boys," during the Srebrenica massacre.

8 March 1997: Stacks of unidentified corpses found in mass graves line the walls of an underground shelter at a morgue in Tuzla. (Photo: Reuters)

The Bosnian War between 1992-1995 left more than 200,000 people dead - mostly Muslim Bosniaks.

In 1995 Srebrenica, a UN-protected area, was taken over by Bosnian Serbs who were killing Bosnian Muslims.

Over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed during the Srebrenica massacre, which was also called a genocide by The ICTY - and the International Court of Justice.

The Muslim victims were led into a warehouse and executed with machine guns and grenades. Afterwards, they were buried in mass graves.

Many Serb soldiers, believed to have had an active role in the brutal massacre of 1992, have not yet stood in the face of a judge.

TRTWorld and agencies