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20 November 2014

Goran Saric Acquitted of Crimes in Sarajevo

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The Appeals Chamber of the Bosnian Court acquitted Goran Saric of committing crimes in the Sarajevo settlement of Nahorevo in 1992.
Saric, former chief of Public Safety Station in the Serbian municipality of Centre in Sarajevo, was acquitted on Thursday of charges of supervising and separating men who were detained in the Jagomir psychiatric hospital in Sarajevo, some of whom were later killed.

Azra Miletic, the presiding judge of the Appeals Chamber, told the trial it was questionable whether defendant was the chief of the Public Safety Station.

"The Bosnian prosecution wanted to prove that the Public Safety Station was established in Nahorevo, but the chamber believes it was not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the station was established in June 1992, or that Saric was its chief," Miletic said.

Explaining the verdict, the Chamber said that there were no evidence that Saric was superior to the police officers.

"The prosecution failed to prove that the defendant issued any kind of order. The prosecution had to prove that the station existed, to show the relation between the superior and his subordinates and that the defendant was superior," the judge said.

The chamber found no evidence that Saric supervised and participated in the separation of three groups of men, who were placed in the psychiatric hospital on June 19, 1992. Part of the group was later taken to a detention camp, some of whom were expelled while another part was killed, according to the charges.

"It is not visible from the evidence that he issued an order for the resettlement of the population or for the arrest of men, so the role of the defendant in those events is not clear," Miletic said, adding that it was not proved that the defendant compiled lists of men, who were sent to three different locations.

Saric was originally jailed for 14 years for this crime, but the Appeals Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial. This verdict may not be appealed.

Saric is also on trial, in a separate case, for the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica.

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