THE HAGUE | 11.04.2011.

PROSECUTION OPPOSES SIMATOVIC’S ACQUITTAL

The prosecution contends there is enough evidence of the responsibility of Franko Simatovic for the crimes committed by the police and volunteer units in the wars in Croatia and BH and asks the Trial Chamber to dismiss Simatovic’s motion for his acquittal at the ‘half-time’ of the trial

The prosecution considers it has called enough relevant evidence for each count in the indictment charging two former chiefs of the Serbian State Security Service Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic with persecution, murder, deportation and forcible transfer of non-Serbs during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prosecutions therefore petitioned the Trial Chamber to dismiss Franko Simatovic’s motion for his acquittal at the ‘half-time’ of the trial.

Last week, Simatovic exercised his right to seek his acquittal for lack of evidence, pursuant to Rule 98 bis of the Rules of Evidence and Procedure. The defense of the first accused Stanisic decided not to file a motion for his acquittal. As the prosecution responded to Simatovic’s motion today, the prosecutors spoke about the evidence incriminating both accused. According to the prosecution, Stanisic and Simatovic were ‘close and inseparable’ associates and participants in the same joint criminal enterprise whose goal was to forcibly and permanently eliminate non-Serbs from large swathes of Croatia and BH.

The prosecutor contends that the existence of the joint criminal enterprise and the participation of the two accused in it are proven both by the testimony of a number of witnesses and by intercepted conversations in which the two accused are mentioned as participants. Mladic’s diaries, recently admitted into evidence, also corroborate those allegations; in an entry in his diary, Mladic says that at a meeting in December 1993 in Belgrade Jovica Stanisic promised Radovan Karadzic in the presence of Slobodan Milosevic, Momcilo Krajisnik and others that he would help him establish Serb control, and eliminate non-Serbs from parts of BH.

In two separate intercepted conversations between the two accused and Karadzic, Stanisic promised to help him ‘completely exterminate’ non-Serbs, if necessary. ‘Doctor, I stand behind you, you are the boss there and will remain so’, Simatovic said. The prosecutor also highlighted the evidence about the ties between the accused and the participants of the joint criminal enterprise in Croatia, Milan Martic and Goran Hadzic.

According to the prosecution, the court has seen plenty of evidence on the involvement of the Serbian State Security Service units in the crimes in the municipalities of Samac, Doboj, Bijeljina and Zvornik in BH and in various towns and villages in Krajina and Eastern Slavonia, like Bruska, Bacin, Skabrnja and Dalj. The Red Berets, commanded by Franko Simatovic according to the prosecution case, were not the only unit responsible for the crimes in those areas: there were also ‘Arkan’s men’ and Scorpions. The evidence called by the prosecution shows that the Serbian State Security Service controlled those units and organized their training, logistics and transfer to the frontlines. The responsibility of the accused is not reduced by the fact that in some periods volunteers were subordinated to the JNA or the VRS, the prosecutor said. Last week, Simatovic’s defense insisted on this in its arguments.

The prosecution contends therefore that Franko Simatovic’s defense has a case to answer; at this point in time, there are no grounds for his acquittal.