News 08 Sep 17

Serb General’s Tuzla Massacre Case Delayed Again

A hearing in Belgrade in the case of former Bosnian Serb general Novak Djukic, accused of ordering a deadly artillery strike on Tuzla in Bosnia, was postponed because he was admitted to hospital.

Filip Rudic
Novak Djukic in court during his trial in Sarajevo.

A hearing in the case of wartime general Novak Djukic, who has already been convicted in Bosnia and Herzegovina of ordering an attack that killed 71 people in Tuzla in 1995, was delayed on Friday because he was admitted to the Military Medical Academy hospital in Belgrade.

“The judge postponed the hearing... and asked the Military Medical Academy to inform the court when he [Djukic] is discharged so she can schedule a new hearing,” the general’s lawyer, Milorad Konstantinovic, told BIRN.

Konstantinovic, who filed Djukic’s medical records to the court, said that his client is suffering from several health problems.

Djukic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Ozren Tactical Group, is accused of ordering an artillery squad to shell the Bosnian town of Tuzla on May 25, 1995.

Seventy-one people died in the attack.

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the crime by the Bosnian state court in June 2014, but did not turn up to serve his sentence in Bosnia, claiming he was undergoing medical treatment in Serbia.

Bosnia issued an international arrest warrant for him in October 2014, but Djukic cannot be extradited to Bosnia because it has no extradition treaty with Serbia.

Serbia then offered to deal with the case, but Djukic did not appear for a series of hearings, claiming that the Bosnian court had not sent the necessary case documents.

The Bosnian court confirmed to BIRN that it received the request for the documents, but said there was no legal basis for the sending the entire case material.

It argued that the court in Belgrade does not need to confirm the Bosnian verdict, but just to take over the enforcement of Djukic’s 20-year sentence.

Serbia signed an agreement with Bosnia in 2010, which allows Sarajevo and Belgrade to ask each other to take over the enforcement of sentences.

Serbia’s behaviour in the Djukic case has been criticised by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and its chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz.

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