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27 November 2013
News

Exemption of Judge Azra Miletic Requested

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A hearing to discuss a State Prosecution’s custody order motion for five convicts for genocide in Srebrenica, who were released from prison, has been postponed, because one of the Defence attorneys requested the exemption of judge Azra Miletic.

Borislav Jamina, Defence attorney of Branislav Medan, requested the exemption of Miletic, member of the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because, as he said, she was a Bosniak, although he respected her as an expert.
 
“I consider that judge Azra Miletic should be excluded from the Chamber. If this case covered any other crime, I would not make such a request,” Jamina said.

The five indictees, who were released from prisons, where they served long-term sentences, on November 18, appeared at the hearing today, which has now been postponed until December 4.

The Defence attorney’s request will be considered at a general session of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina filed the custody order motions due to a danger of flight and disturbance of public order.

Miletic, as well as judge Tihomir Lukes, Chairman of this Chamber, were judges at the second instance trial of Branislav Medan, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Brano Dzinic and Milenko Trifunovic, who were sentenced to 153 years in prison for genocide in Srebrenica. Mirko Bozovic is a new member in this Chamber.

As per a decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the second instance verdict was quashed due to wrong application of the criminal code. They were sentenced according to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the Constitutional Court of BiH considers that the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia should have been applied, as shorter sentences could have been pronounced according to that Code.

After the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina had quashed the second instance verdicts, the convicts received the status of indictees.

Defence attorney Jamina said that he requested exemption of Bosniak judges at the first and second instance trials, but the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina rejected his request.

Jamina said that, following the decision by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 22 this year in regard to the application of the criminal law in the case of ten convicts, judge Miletic spoke about those cases in the media. He said that she should not have done that, because she was “a judge in those cases”.  

According to the second instance verdict pronounced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Trifunovic and Radovanovic shot at about 1,000 Srebrenica captives in the warehouse of the Agricultural Co-operative in Kravica, near Bratunac, on July 13, 1995, Dzinic threw bombs, while Jakovljevic and Medan guarded the other sides of the building with the aim of preventing captives from fleeing.  

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina determined that they had previously participated in the capture of those people. The verdict said that they were members of the Second Special Police Squad from Sekovici.

The five men were arrested in the summer of 2005. They spent eight years under custody and in prison, where they served their sentences. 
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