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19 November 2013
News

Modality and Scope of New Trials under Question

Justice Report BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Defence attorneys, representing the now-free convicts who were initially sentenced for having assisted in genocide in Srebrenica, still do not know whether they will propose new pieces of evidence at the new trials.
Dragan Gotovac, Defence attorney of Aleksandar Radovanovic, who was sentenced, under a verdict pronounced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to 32 years in prison for having assisted in the commission of genocide in Srebrenica, says that he is still awaiting a decision by the State Court on the renewal of the criminal proceedings, which will explain “which part of the proceedings will be renewed”.  

“As far as the evidence is concerned, a large number of documents will probably not be presented again. Some pieces of evidence, which are important for reasons for the renewal, will have to be presented again. Therefore, all documents related to the application of laws, indictee’s personalities and so on... There will probably be certain pieces of evidence that will be presented,” Gotovac said.

Gotovac says that, considering the fact that four years have passed since the pronouncement of the second instance verdict against Radovanovic, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Defence now have “a number of new pieces of evidence and discoveries”, which, in his opinion, might influence the outcome of the new trial.

“We know that a key protected witness in this case has fully denied all that he said before. So, this is a new development as far as the Defence is concerned. The Prosecutor will probably propose evidence with the aim of determining those elements of the verdict. We shall try to prove that this was not genocide, but another crime. It is logical that, as a defence attorney, I want to free my client from the gravest crime classification,” Gotovac said.

Todor Todorovic, Defence attorney of Petar Mitrovic, shares his opinion. He says that, considering the new situation, he still does not know whether the whole trial will be renewed, in which case he would deal with the factual allegations, or just the application of the laws.

“One thing is certain. The sentence will be reduced, considering that the law of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, which is more favourable to indictees, will be used. If we have an opportunity, we shall request the denial of the factual allegations contained in the quashed verdict too,” Todorovic said.

On the other hand, Suzana Tomanovic, who represents Brano Dzinic, who was sentenced in the same case, says that only “the decision about the sentence due to the wrong application of the criminal code” will be discussed at the new trial.

“We requested the renewal of the trial in accordance with the decision by the Constitutional Court, which quashed the verdict pronounced by the Appellate Chamber. This is the only thing that will be discussed at the new trial, because that is what the Constitutional Court’s decision says,” Tomanovic said.
 
Tomanovic explained that her appeal filed with the Constitutional Court also contained appeals against other parts of the State Court’s verdict, but the Constitutional Court did not respond to them, so she would file an appeal with the European Court for Human Rights.

When asked how long the retrial for Kravica crimes would last, Tomanovic said that the Constitutional Court’s decision said that the retrial had to be completed within three months.

Radovanovic, Mitrovic and Dzinic, as well as Slobodan Jakovljevic, Branislav Medan and Milenko Trifunovic, were sentenced for having committed murders in the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica in July 1995. However, the Constitutional Court quashed the verdict due to the wrong application of the Criminal Code. After that they were released to liberty.
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