News 14 Jul 17

Bosnian Serbs Spend €10,000 on Mladic, Karadzic

The authorities in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska have allocated more than 10,000 euros this year to support Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, who are on trial in The Hague.

Admir Muslimovic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Photos: ICTY.

The Republika Srpska government will make a one-off ‘social assistance’ payment of 20,000 Bosnian marks (10,220 euros) to the former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and political leader Radovan Karadzic, the government’s press office said on Friday.

The verdict in Mladic’s trial at the Hague Tribunal for genocide and other wartime crimes is due in December; Karadzic was convicted in March last year but his case has now gone to appeal. Both deny the charges against them.

The press office said that the money will be paid out according to regulations laid down by Republika Srpska’s State Centre for Researching War, War Crimes and Tracking Missing Persons and approved by its justice minister.

This is not the first time that Republika Srpska has supported the defendants financially, noted Hajra Catic, president of the Women of Srebrenica association, who expressed anger at the support for the two men.

“This is nothing new. The Republika Srpska government has long been helping families of criminals and [the defendants] themselves,” Catic told BIRN.

Last year, Republika Srpska paid out 20,460 euros to support Mladic, Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb interior minister Mico Stanisic and former regional security services chief Stojan Zupljanin.

Mladic’s lawyer Miodrag Stojanovic said the money was intended to cover the defendants’ expenditures at the UN detention unit canteen, and for telephone bills, clothes and other essentials.

A BIRN investigation in 2013 revealed that by December that year, former Yugoslav countries had spent almost 40 million euro of public money supporting war crimes suspects on trial at the Hague Tribunal.

The two countries that lavished the most public money on suspects standing trial at the International Criminal for the Former Yugoslavia were Croatia, which spent over 28 million euro on three defendants, and Macedonia, which spent an estimated 9.5 million euro on just two men.

At that point, a total of 640,000 euro had been sent from Bosnia and Herzegovina to aid indictees, but all of this came from Republika Srpska, and went to help Serb suspects.

Money was also donated to families of Serb indictees through a fund called Pomoc (Help), although the fund published no accounts to indicate how much was raised and how the money was spent.

The chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, Serge Brammertz, told BIRN at the time that providing funding for war crimes suspects was not illegal.

Brammertz said that it was “up to sovereign states to decide for themselves how they want to spend money”.

But he also noted that many victims of the wars, who often struggle to gain compensation, often feel a sense of injustice.

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