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The Hague, 5 June 2009
Stanišić and Simatović Trial To Recommence 9 June
The trial of Jovica Stanišić, a former close aide to Serbian wartime leader Slobodan Milosević, and Franko Simatović, a former elite Serb forces commander, is scheduled to recommence with the opening statement of the Prosecution on Tuesday, 9 June 2009, at 14:15 in Courtroom I.
The opening words may continue on 10 June if necessary with the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution to commence on 29 June. The Defence has opted not to deliver its opening statements at this stage, the Scheduling Order said.
Stanišić and Simatović are accused of having directed, organised, 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 (BiH) and Croatia between 1991 and 1995.
Stanišić was Head of the State Security Service of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of Serbia between 31 December 1991 and 27 October 1998. Simatović was the commander of the Special Operations Unit of the State Security Service during the relevant period.
The Prosecution alleges that the two participated in a Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE), the objective of which was the forcible and permanent removal of the majority of Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from large areas in the two countries. These objectives were to be achieved through persecutions, murder, deportations and forcible transfers. Other alleged members of the JCE included Slobodan Milošević, Ratko Mladić, Milan Martić, Radovan Karadžić, Biljana Plavšić, Željko Ražnatović Arkan and Vojislav Šešelj.
Stanišić and Simatović are charged with planning, ordering, committing or otherwise aiding and abetting the crimes carried out by the secret units which alone or in conjunction with other Serb forces, attacked and took control of towns and villages across Croatia and BiH. They also helped set up training centers for recruits.
The special units included, among others, the Red Berets, Scorpions, Arkan’s Tigers, “Martic’s Police”, Militia of the so-called Serbian Autonomous District of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem/Srem, Special Operation Units and anti-terrorist units.
Charges contained in the indictment include murders committed in Baćin, Saborsko, Poljanak, Lipovača, Škabrnja, Bruška, Dalj and Erdut in Croatia, and Bosanski Šamac, Doboj, Sanski Most and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the murder of six prisoners captured after the fall of Srebrenica, committed and captured on videotape by members of the Scorpions special unit.
The initial indictment against Stanišić and Simatović was filed in May 2003. Stanišić was transferred to the ICTY’s custody by Serbian authorities in June and Simatović in May 2003. Both pleaded not guilty to all counts in the indictment in June 2003.
The trial has been delayed on a number of occasions due to the ill-health of Stanišić. Last year, less than a month after opening words were presented by the Prosecution and the first witness called, the Trial Chamber adjourned the proceedings indefinitely to reassess the health of the Accused prior to recommencing the trial. Stanišić and Simatović were both granted provisional release on 26 June 2008.
On 24 April 2009, Trial Chamber found that Stanišić was able to effectively participate in the trial and ordered the two Accused to return to the Tribunal’s Detention Unit (UNDU).
The Trial Chamber has set out specific modalities for the trial in order to accommodate Stanišić’s medical condition and enable him to participate in the trial proceedings. Hearings will be held two days a week in the afternoon and the UNDU Reporting Medical Officer will submit a written report to the Chamber on the condition of the Accused once a week.
Moreover, Stanišić will be able to follow and fully participate in the proceedings via video-conference link from a room in the UNDU. A telephone line will allow him to communicate with his counsel in the Courtroom.
Since its inception in 1993 the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons for war crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The proceedings against 120 individuals have been completed.
An information sheet on the case can be found at
Full text of the indictment can be found at
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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