17.05.2017.

STANISIC AND SIMATOVIC RETRIAL SCHEDULED FOR 13 JUNE

The retrial of the former heads of the Serbian State Security Service will start on 13 June 2017. The two accused face charges of establishing, aiding, supporting and controlling the secret police and paramilitary units that were to blame for the crimes in Croatia and BH from 1991 to 1995

The retrial of the former Serbian State Security Service chiefs, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, should start on 13 June 2017, Judge Burton Hall said at the pre-trial conference today.

Because of Stanisic's ill health, the trial will proceed for only three days a week, in two 90-minute sessions with a two-hour break. Stanisic has in the meantime asked for the extension of his provisional release until the end of the prosecution case and the Chamber has yet to rule on the motion. Simatovic's defense counsel stated his client was ready to return to The Hague for the start of the trial.

The prosecution has indicated it intends to call about 140 'potential witnesses'. Most of them will appear in court only to confirm their previous statements and evidence and will be then cross-examined by the defense. The judges may also have some questions for them. The prosecution estimates its case would take 104 hours.

Stanisic and Simatovic are charged with their role in a joint criminal enterprise whose goal was to forcibly and permanently remove non-Serb population from large swathes of Croatia and BH. The goal was achieved through a campaign of murders, deportations, forcible transfer and persecution. Judge Alphons Orie's Trial Chamber concluded in the first trial that crimes were committed against local Croats and Muslims in SAO Krajina and SAO Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem in Croatia, and in the municipalities of Bijeljina, Bosanski Samac, Doboj, Sanski Most, Trnovo and Zvornik in BH. The judges nevertheless acquitted Stanisic and Simatovic in May 2013 by a majority vote, finding that their assistance and support to the Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia was not 'specifically directed' at the commission of those crimes.

In December 2015, the Appeals Chamber quashed the trial judgment and ordered a retrial.