IGK: Acquittal of Stanisic, Simatovic would be a defeat of international justice

NEWS 29.06.2021 09:40
Source: REUTERS/Martijn Beekman

The acquittal of former top Serbian Security Officials, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who stand accused of involvement in war crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia during the 1991-1995 wars in former Yugoslavia, would represent a "defeat of international justice," the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada (IGK) said in a press release.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) will hand down the verdict in the retrial of the former head of Serbia's State Security Service (SDB), Stanisic, as well former head of the country’ Special Operations Unit (JSO), Simatovic, on Wednesday.

Stanisic and Simatovic are charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise led by the then-president Slobodan Milosevic from April 1991 to December 1995, with the goal to remove the majority of Bosniaks and Croats from parts of the territories of BiH and Croatia.

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The IGK said it expects that the IRMCT will confirm the expert opinion of French Judge Michele Picard which said that there was sufficient evidence to convict the two.

It said that the verdict against Stanisic and Simatovic is not only a question of personal responsibility but is “necessary for the understanding of the joint criminal project and the structures it was based upon.”

“Those who are charged with a joint criminal project that included deportations and persecutions, murders and other inhumane acts, in the name of a criminal campaign for the realization of Greater Serbia, those who equipped, trained, financed, controlled and on the battlefields in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina sent military and paramilitary forces that committed crimes in numerous locations in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, deserve a court conviction,” said the IGK.

The release of Stanisic and Simatovic would represent a defeat of international justice, an insult and humiliation of the victims, an attack on truth and justice, and would make the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia meaningless, it said.

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