Jezik / Language:
1 June 2007

Stankovic Still at Large

Radovan Stankovic's escape from Foca prison has still not been explained. However, according to statements by the police of Republika Srpska, the search continues.  
Seven days after his escape from prison in Foca, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for war crimes, it is still not known where Radovan Stankovic is hiding.  

Republika Srpska police announced on Friday 1st June that the State Agency for Investigation and Protection (SIPA) had taken over the investigation into Stankovic's escape and that the police forces in BiH were searching for him.  
The Chief of Administration of the Criminal Police in Republika Srpska, GojkoVasic, has said that, according to information available to the police, Radovan Stankovic is in Montenegro.   

"He was seen there, and the police in Pljevlja are trying to determine his current location and arrest him", said Vasic at a press conference.  

Vasic also said that SIPA staff inspected the apartments of Radovan Stankovic and his brother in Foca in the evening on 31st May. Three persons were arrested as a result of the operation.

The RS Police Directorate have denied allegations by some media outlets in BiH that their officers had been involved in Stankovic's escape and explained that the personnel working in prisons were not RS police officers but employees of the correctional facilities.
Radovan Stankovic, a former member of the Republika Srpska Army, was sentenced by the Court of BiH to 20 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Foca municipality during 1992. The verdict indicates that Stankovic was one of those responsible for the establishment and functioning of a women's detention camp in Karaman kuca, in which the youngest detainee was 12 and the oldest 24 years old.  
Milorad Dodik, Prime Minister of Republika Srpska, said that he thought"it was not appropriate for the Court of BiH to send Stankovic to Foca to serve his sentence because he was born there and had school mates and friends".
The Prime Minister also said that "almost all staff" in the Foca prison would be replaced and that "the nine guards who let Stankovic escape deserve to be imprisoned until it is determined how this happened".
The Office of the High Representative (OHR) in BiH has also reacted by expressing dissatisfaction by Stankovic's escape and asking for a detailed investigation of the escape. OHR has also approved the allocation of two EUPM BiH staff to the investigation in order to help the local police.

The High Representative has also said that Stankovic's escape points to "all the inadequacies of the overcrowded and weakly financed prison system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to the need for the establishment of urgent coordination between the law implementation and judicial bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina".

Christian Schwarz-Schilling has announced that he will meet with relevant State institutions and potential international partners to discuss measures that could be undertaken in order to speed up the activities within the State Prison Project.
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