14.12.2016.

STATUS CONFERENCE IN STANISIC AND SIMATOVIC RETRIAL

The scope of the case and the health of Stanisic, former head of the Serbian State Security Service, were discussed today at the status conference in the case against Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic which set for a retrial. Stanisic and his erstwhile deputy Simatovic are charged with crimes against non-Serbs between 1991 and 1995

The status conference in the case against Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who are going to be retried, was held in two parts. The first took place on Monday in closed session. The Trial Chamber heard Dutch psychiatrist Eric Vermetten, who examined the former head of the State Security Service Jovica Stanisic in Belgrade..

On the second day, on Wednesday, the parties discussed the status of the proceedings. As pre-trial judge Burton Hall stated, the parties have failed to reach an agreement on which testimonies given at the previous trial could be used in the retrial. The parties have also failed to agree on the facts adjudicated in the previous trial..

The parties differ on the scope of the case, as the debate at the conference today showed. The matter is outlined in a pending defense motion. The defense lawyers of the two accused object to the extension of the indictment to include new incidents, such as the murder of civilians at Ovcara near Vukovar in November1991, although the prosecution claims Stanisic and Simatovic are not charged with those murders..

When Stanisic’s defense counsel Wayne Jordash noted that the prosecution was in effect ‘changing the charges on the eve of the trial’, instead of reducing the scope and making the charges easier to understand, lead counsel for the prosecution Douglas Stringer retorted that the prosecution does not allege that the accused are responsible for the Ovcara murders, but that ‘thousands of non-Serbs were expelled from Vukovar and the perpetrators were equipped or trained by the accused’, or by the State Security Service.

The defense demands that the prosecution formulate the accusations clearly and precisely in order to be able to see what the accused are ‘charged with in fact’. The pre-trial judge concluded the debate stating that the chamber will consider the argument.

The next status conference will be held in February 2017.