Hague Tribunal rejects Serbia’s former state security official plea for freedom

Hague Tribunal rejects Serbia’s former state security official plea for freedom

Hague Tribunal rejects Serbia’s former state security official plea for freedom Izvor: Reuters

The International Court for war crimes in The Hague refused on Tuesday an appeal by former operative of Serbia’s State Security (SDB) Franko Simatovic Frenki to free him in the middle of the trial, the Beta news agency reported.

His lawyers said the prosecution failed to prove the accusations” of his involvement in war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s.

The presiding judge Burton Hall said The Hague Prosecutors’ Office had gathered enough evidence for all counts, adding the defence evidence procedure would start on June 18.

Simatovic, 68, was indicted together with Jovica Stanisic, also 68, former SDB head, for expulsion, murders, deportation and forcible movement of Croatian and Muslim civilians during the 1991-1995 wars in the ex-Yugoslav republics.

The two are in Belgrade, pending the resumption of the trial. Stanisic did not seek to be freed.

In his ruling, Judge Hall said the evidence on Simatovic’s key role in organising, training, arming and supervising the special units from Serbia operating in Croatia and Bosnia existed.

In the first instance, both Simatovic and Stanisic were acquitted, but after the prosecutor’s appeal, a new trial was scheduled.

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