News 27 Jun 17

Bosnian Ex-Policeman Sues Serbia for Years in Custody

Ilija Jurisic, a former policeman from Tuzla in Bosnia, filed a suit against Serbia demanding compensation for the three-and-a-half years he spent in detention after his arrest on war crimes charges.

Admir Muslimovic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Ilija Jurisic. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Ilija Jurisic told a preparatory hearing at the Supreme Court in Belgrade on Tuesday that he had endured mental suffering and a rapid deterioration of his health as a result of spending three-and-a-half years in custody over a crime he was later acquitted of committing.

He also said that he wanted those responsible for detaining him to be held accountable.

“I expect a positive outcome from this verdict,” said Jurisic.

The appeals court in Belgrade ruled in March 2016 that there was no evidence to prove that Jurisic ordered an attack on a Yugoslav People’s Army military convoy which was withdrawing from Tuzla at the beginning of the Bosnian war in 1992.

In 2013, Belgrade’s special court ruled for a second time that Jurisic was guilty because he issued an order to attack the convoy, despite an agreement to allow the Yugoslav troops to peacefully withdraw.

According to the initial verdict, the Yugoslav People’s Army and Bosnian representatives agreed that the army could pull out of its barracks in Tuzla without being attacked, but the Bosnian side broke the deal and opened fire on the Yugoslav soldiers.

As a result of the attack, around 51 soldiers were killed and at least 50 more were injured.

However the Belgrade appeals court said that the rulings of the special court were handed down on the basis of “incorrect and incomplete facts” and so the 2013 verdict had to be annulled.

Jurisic’s lawyer Djordje Dozet declined to specify how much compensation his client had requested from Serbia.

“I do not wish to speak about the amount of compensation requested. The trial has begun. I hope it will be finished in two years at the latest,” Dozet said.

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