Former Bosnian Serb police minister Mico Stanisic has been granted three-month provisional release and can apply for an extension. Now that the trial for crimes against Bosnian Croats and Muslims has ended, Stanisic will await his judgment in Belgrade. The prosecution has asked for a life sentence for Stanisic
Mico Stanisic, the first Republika Srpska interior minister, has been granted three-month provisional release. The trial of Stanisic and his co-defendant, Stojan Zupljanin, for crimes against Croats and Muslims in Bosnia in 1992, ended last week after the parties presented their closing arguments.
The decision recalls that in its motion, the defense stated that Stanisic had surrendered voluntarily to the Tribunal four days after he had learned about the indictment. Stanisic has voluntarily cooperated with the prosecution, has always been respectful of the judges and has always respected the terms of his provisional release. The defense also invoked the cases of the other accused who had been granted provisional release, recalling the changes to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence made in October 2011. As amended, the rules no longer contain the requirement of ‘convincing humanitarian reasons’ for provisional release.
The prosecution opposed Stanisic’s provisional release, arguing that the ‘enormous gravity of the crimes’ Stanisic is charged with and the fact that the prosecution has asked for life sentence makes him ‘a flight risk’. The prosecution considers that at this stage of the trial, provisional release might ‘affect significantly public confidence in the work of the Tribunal’.
As they granted Stanisic’s request, the judges explained that since his surrender to the Tribunal, the accused has already been on provisional release seven times. Stanisic has always complied with the terms set to him and has always returned to the Tribunal’s Detention Unit on time. The judges are aware of ‘the potential effect’ Stanisic’s provisional release may have on victims, noting nevertheless that the accused will stay in Serbia and not in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of the victims of the crimes Stanisic is charged with live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In their decision, the judges note that after three months, the accused can ask for an extension of his provisional release.Mico Stanisic will be transferred to Belgrade soon, and the Serbian MUP will assume responsibility for him. During his stay in Belgrade, Stanisic will have to report daily to the local police station. Stanisic must not discuss his case with anybody except for his defense team.