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6 March 2006

Initial appearance delayed in Jankovic case

Plea postponed due to absence of defence counsel.
Gojko Jankovic’s initial appearance before the Bosnia and Herzegovina State Court, at which he was due to enter a plea on war crimes charges, has been postponed until March 16 because his lawyer was unable to attend.

Defence counsel Miodrag Stojanovic was absent because of commitments at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in The Hague.

Jankovic is charged with responsibility for war crimes in the Foca area, where he is said to have operated during the war both as a member of the Bosnian Serb military police and as a paramilitary.
He was initially indicted by the ICTY in 1999 and taken into custody in The Hague, before being transferred to Sarajevo on December 12, 2005.

The first case to be transferred in this way from the ICTY to the Bosnian judiciary was that of Radovan Stankovic, also accused of war crimes against non-Serb civilians in the Foca area.

After Jankovic’s arrival in Sarajevo, prosecutors had 65 days to either reformulate the charges against him or adjust them in order to bring them into line with local legislation.

On February 20, the State Court accepted amendments to the ICTY charges and verified five new charges pressed by Bosnian prosecutors.
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