News 10 Sep 12

Radovan Stankovic Refuses to Come to Court

Radovan Stankovic refused to appear before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enter his plea on the indictment charging him with escaping from Foca prison, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for war crimes committed in the town in 1992.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

Milenko Vojo Radovic, lawyer for the accused, said that he had talked with Stankovic who cited two reasons for not appearing before the State Court.

Stankovic allegedly considers the indictment charging him with murder as false, and says that if he should be tried at all, it should be before the Basic Court in Foca.

“He is adamant in not wanting to come,” Radovic said.

For this reason, Hasija Masovic, the pre-trial judge, postponed the plea hearing for September 25.

Masovic said the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will go on with its hearings even if Stankovic refuses to come again.

In that case, the Court will consider that Stankovic has entered a not-guilty plea.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina jailed Stankovic in 2007 for crimes against humanity against Bosniak civilians in Foca in the second half of 1992.

According to the verdict of March 2007, Stankovic was found guilty of several crimes, among them raping prisoners, some of whom were underage.

Stankovic was then member of the Miljevina Battalion of the Foca Tactical Brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska.

He was sent to prison in Foca, but escaped soon afterwards. According to the indictment, he escaped on May 25, 2007, at around 1pm, while being taken from the prison to a medical examination at Foca’s Medical Centre.

After he exited the special vehicle, he shoved aside the guard, entered another car and fled.

After almost five years on the run, police found that Stankovic had returned to Foca and rearrested him on January 21 and returned him to the same prison.

For aiding the escape, Stankovic’s brother, Ranko, was sentenced to two years' prison, while physician Ranka Dragicevic and nurse Brankica Davidovic, who confessed guilt, were given conditional sentences of six months each.

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