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Jovica Stanišić Fit To Stand Trial

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 9 April 2008

Jovica Stanišić Fit To Stand Trial

The trial of Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović will commence on Monday, 14 April 2008 with the opening statements of the parties, Trial Chamber III ruled Wednesday.

The decision comes following yesterday’s oral finding of the Trial Chamber by majority – Judge Patrick Robinson dissenting – that Jovica Stanišić is fit to stand trial.

The start of trial has been repeatedly delayed in recent weeks due to the health condition of the accused who suffers from pouchitis, osteoporosis and kidney stones, while he is also being treated for deep depression. The illness prevented Stanišić from attending court while at the same time he refused to sign waivers from the hearings.

The Trial Chambers ruled that Stanišić’s “health condition is a factor that persistently interferes with the right to a fair and expeditious trial, warranting derogation from the right to be present in court”.

The panel of judges further stated that Stanišić is not the only person on trial and that the “co-accused Franko Simatović is also on trial, and he too is entitled to a fair and expeditious trial”.

It ordered instead that a video-conference link be set up in the Tribunal’s detention unit which would allow the accused to follow the proceedings and see the witnesses at all times, whether hearings are held in open or closed session. A telephone line with the courtroom is also to be set up which would allow Stanišić to communicate with his Defence Counsel during court sessions.

The Trial Chamber underlined that this is not a permanent solution and that the accused must attend court if he is able to do so. “If he does not, in spite of being able to do so, he will be taken to waive his right to be present in court,” the judges decided.

Stanišić and Simatović, high level officials of Serbian Secret Service, are accused of having directed, organized, equipped, trained, armed and financed secret units of the Serbian State Security which murdered, persecuted and deported Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serb civilians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia between 1991 and 1995.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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