Serbia prosecutors investigating network that aided war criminals

[JURIST] The Serbian war crimes prosecutor announced on Friday that his office is investigating suspects accused of helping former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] and former security official Stojan Zupljanin [ICTY case materials] evade justice until they were arrested to face trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Vladimir Vukcevic [profile, PDF] said that a total of 13 individuals are being investiged. It is alleged that six helped Mladic while seven others aided Zupljanin. Among the six who allegedly helped Mladic is a former top general of military intelligence, according to the prosecutor. He refused to provide any names of the suspects at this time. Friday's announcement came after prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] of the ICTY had criticized [JURIST report] Serbia for its failure to investigate and prosecute those who aided the fugitives earlier this month.

Trial Chamber I of the ICTY has suspended [JURIST report] the trial of Mladic due to an error in disclosing documents to the defense lawyers. His trial was postponed indefinitely [JURIST report] in May due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct related to evidence disclosure. Mladic has been charged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive] including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. In June 2008, Serbian authorities transferred [JURIST report] Zupljanin to the ICTY after a national court refused his appeal against extradition. He was arrested [JURIST report] earlier that month on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws of war for allegedly killing civilians during the ethnic conflicts of the 1990s.

 

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