News 07 May 13

Bosnian Serb Ex-PM Acquitted of War Crimes

Post-war Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic was acquitted of ordering an attack on Bosanska Krupa and expelling Bosniak civilians during the conflict in 1992.

Denis Dzidic

The Bosnian state court ruled on Tuesday that Klickovic and another Bosnian Serb official, Mladen Drljaca, were not guilty of war crimes in their second trial over a deadly attack on the municipality of Bosanska Krupa in April 1992.

The appeals chamber’s presiding judge Dragomir Vukoje said that the prosecution failed to prove the existence of discriminatory intent, which was “necessary for establishing their guilt over the expulsion of civilians”.

“The chamber is not absolutely certain that Klickovic and Drljaca did not participate in any way in the events in Bosanska Krupa, but due to a lack of concrete evidence of their conscious effort to commit expulsion, the chamber acquits them of the charges,” explained Vukoje.

According to the indictment, Klickovic was the commander of the crisis headquarters of the Serb municipality of Bosanska Krupa at the time, and Drljaca president of the temporary military court in Jasenica and member of the crisis headquarters.

Klickovic became prime minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska after the 1992-95 war.

Klickovic was cleared of charges that in April 1992 he ordered an attack on Bosanska Krupa during which several civilians were killed, and that together with Drljaca he ordered the imprisonment of civilians.

Vukoje said that the prosecution had proved that certain crimes were committed against Bosniaks in Bosanska Krupa, but did not offer enough evidence about the “connection or agreement” between Klickovic, Drljaca and the direct perpetrators.

“The prosecution tried to make up for the deficiency of evidence by emphasising the position of the defendants as members of the crisis headquarters,” said Vukoje.

The presiding judge said that in their official positions, Klickovic and Drljaca could not have had authority over Republika Srpska’s troops or police.

Drljaca was also cleared of accusations that he made exchange lists of illegally-detained non-Serb civilians. Vukoje said that the prosecution failed to prove the lists were made with discriminatory intent, and that there was no evidence that Drljaca had the intention of locking up civilians.

The first-instance verdict in November 2010 acquitted both men of charges that they participated in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at dividing the municipality of Bosanska Krupa and creating a territory which would be inhabited by a Serb majority.

In May 2012, the appeals chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial. Another Bosnian Serb, Jovan Ostojic, was originally charged with Klickovic and Drljaca but was freed of all charges.

The latest verdict cannot be appealed.

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