Former heads of the Serbian State Security Service will be tried again for establishing, assisting, supporting and controlling the secret police and paramilitary units that perpetrated crimes in Croatia and BH from 1991 to 1995

The new trial of the two former heads of the Serbian State Security Service, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, should begin in the second half of May. Presiding Judge Burton Hall indicated at the status conference today that the pre-trial conference will be held in the week beginning 15 May, and depending on the outcome, the trial will start a week later, i.e. in the week beginning 22 May.

Both accused were provisionally released pending retrial and did not attend the status conference today. The discussion centered on the preparations for the trial. As was indicated, the defense and the prosecution failed to reach an agreement on the testimony of witnesses heard in the first trial whose evidence could be admitted without their having to testify again. As the judges said, the Trial Chamber will not hear any evidence that was not heard at the first trial, the only exception being new evidence if old evidence is not available any more or new evidence not available at the time of the first trial. The defense teams of the two accused made submissions related to the health of their clients. The judges are still considering them but they were not discussed in public today.

Stanisic and Simatovic are charged with their part in a joint criminal enterprise to forcibly and permanently eliminate the non-Serb population from large swathes of Croatia and BH, implemented through a campaign of murder, deportation, forcible transfer and persecution. Although the Trial Chamber found that crimes were committed against local Croats and Muslims in a number of places including the Serb Autonomous Regions (SAO) ofKrajina and Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem in Croatia, and in the BH municipalities of Bijeljina, Bosanski Samac, Doboj, Sanski Most, Trnovo and Zvornik, the judges, headed by Alphons Orie, decided by a majority to acquit Stanisic and Simatovic in May 2013. The judges concluded that their assistance and support to the Serb forces in Croatia and Bosnia was not ‘specifically directed’ to the commission of crimes.

In December 2015, the Appeals Chamber quashed Stanisic’s and Simatovic’s acquittal and ordered a retrial.