Bosnia to Miss War Crimes Investigations Deadline

May 21, 2015
The Bosnian prosecution admitted that the most complex cases will not be solved by the end of this year – the deadline set by the state-level war crimes strategy.

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

The head of the Bosnian prosecution war crimes department, Gordana Tadic, told a conference in Sarajevo on Thursday that the deadline will be missed and asked for another three years to complete the task.

“We should have finished the most complex investigations within seven years of the adoption of the strategy [in 2008], which will be in December. We will obviously not achieve this and we are already asking for a new deadline which should be at least three years [in the future],” Tadic said.

She said however that the eight cases sent to the country by the prosecutors at the Hague Tribunal were almost finished.

“These cases were the priority last year and the prosecutors who worked on them had all the assistance they needed,” she said.

Tadic said the Bosnian prosecution had a productive year in 2014 and raised a lot of indictments related to rape and sexual violence offences during the war.

According to estimates, there are still around 500 uncompleted war crimes investigations at the state level and at least as many on the entity level.

Prosecutors Branko Mitrovic and Munib Halilovic, who presented the work of entity level prosecutions at the conference, criticised the way in which cases are sent from the state level to the Republika Srpska and Federation prosecutions.

They said that their workrate was hampered by the fact that indictments were already raised at the state level.

“We have nothing against the transfer of cases, but send them down in the investigation phase. It is easier to raise indictments then work on someone else’s indictments,” said Mitrovic.

Milan Tegeltija, the head of the Bosnian High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, HJPC, which oversees much of the country’s judiciary, said that in 2014, 20 new prosecutors were hired, which speeded up the entire process.

“Prosecutions finished 25 per cent more criminal complaints by, solved 63 per cent more investigations and raised 91 per cent more indictments compared to the year before,” said Tegeltija.

Jadranka Lokmic Misiraca from the HJPC, who presented the work of the prosecutions at the conference, said that slow investigations were the biggest problem.

“I cannot find an explanation for investigations which go on for eight years, unless the suspect is on the run,” said Lokmic Misiraca.

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

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