The presentation of closing arguments in the trial of nine ex policemen charged with the deportation of refugees from Montenegro to Bosnia in 1992, has been postponed after the prosecution modified the indictment.
The retrial of nine former police officers who are charged with the arrest and deportation of 79 Bosniak and Bosnian Serb refugees to the Bosnian Serb wartime entity, will not be finished as soon as it was expected.
Lidija Vukcevic, the deputy special prosecutor for organized crime, corruption and war crimes, presented on Friday modification to the indictment.
Her move prompted the defence to ask for the postponement of presentation of closing arguments, which have been subsequently rescheduled for October 24.
The changes include modification of name of Bosnian Serb wartime entity from “Republika Srpska“ into the „Srpska Repulika BiH“ and a slight change to the legal foundations of the indictment.
More importantly, the new indictment changed the description of the way the nine former policemen allegedly committed the war crime against civilians.
The indictment now includes that the nine men have harmed dignity of the civilians, who were not directly participating in the hostilities and who had the right not to take part in the conflict and to be treated humanely and without discrimination.
After the presentation of the new indictment, Branislav Lutovac, one of the defence lawyers, claimed that, by changing the indictment at the last minute, the special prosecutor breached the law.
His colleague, Radovan Vukmanović, said that the changes allude that indictees committed crime against humanity.
The initial indictment in the deportation case was filed in 2009.
It states that 9 defendants illegally moved citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had status of refugees, in May 1992, during the Bosnian war, and as such breached the rules of international law for protection of civilians, prescribed by the Geneva Convention.
The original indictment goes onto argue that the policemen acted upon the telegram, sent to them by the deceased Pavle Bulatovic, Montenegro's interior minister at the time.
The first deportation case trial ended in acquittal in 2011.
The appeals court, however, found in March this year that the first-instance verdict contradicted itself and ordered a retrial, which started on September 6.