News 23 Oct 17

Prosecution Rejects Hate Probe into Bosnian Serb Leader

The state prosecution said it will not investigate Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, over allegations that he incited ethnic and religious hatred by insulting Srebrenica victims.

Admir Muslimovic
Milorad Dodik. Photo: SNSD.

The Bosnian state prosecution said on Monday that it will not investigate a criminal complaint against Milorad Dodik that was filed by the Association of Victims and Witnesses of Genocide, saying there were no grounds for suspicion that he committed the crime.

The complaint, filed in June 2015, alleged that Dodik disrespected victims of crimes committed by Republika Srpska’s political and military leadership and denied that genocide was committed against Bosniaks from Srebrenica in 1995.

The prosecution said in statement that Dodik’s comments in an interview published by Vecernje Novosti newspaper in May 2015 did have “an offensive nature”.

“However, the factual description of a crime must contain facts and circumstances referring to the suspect’s premeditation, which means that he/she is aware that, by conveying the offensive words, he/she is causing or might cause ethnic or religious hatred,” the prosecution statement added.

“In this concrete case, no such intention on the side of the reported person has been determined on the basis of evidence,” it said.

The Association of Victims and Witnesses of Genocide announced that it will file an appeal against the decision.

“The explanation indicates that investigative actions have been carried out, including an examination of Milorad Dodik and the journalist who interviewed him, but Vecernje Novosti and its publisher have been unable to provide the prosecution with an original copy of the issue in which the mentioned interview was published,” said the association’s president, Murat Tahirovic.

State prosecutors said that Vecernje Novosti informed them that it destroyed the newspaper archives a month after the edition was printed and distributed.

“As far as I know all media outlets keep archives of all issues they publish. That is why we will file an appeal within the legally-set timeframe,” Tahirovic said.

The association said that in the interview Dodik insisted that a crime but no genocide happened in Srebrenica in 1995, disrespecting both the victims and verdicts handed down by the Hague Tribunal.

Dodik also claimed that the number of victims of the Srebrenica massares was exaggerated and “manipulated by political officials from Sarajevo”, the association said.

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