Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. Photo: balkaninsight.com via Bing.
Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. Photo: balkaninsight.com via Bing.

MICT hears testimony that alleged joint enterprise of Milosevic with Stanisic and Simatovic did not command Serbs outside Serbia: On 28 June, Prosecution witness John Wilson testified in front of the judges of the Mechanism for International Tribunals in the Hague (MICT) on the alleged involvement of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic in a joint criminal enterprise led by Slobodan Milosevic. The indictment against Stanisic, the former chief of the Serbian State Security Service (SDB), and his assistant Simatovic, alleges that the two were involved in the implementation of an alleged joint criminal enterprise led by Milosevic, aimed at forcibly removing Croats and Muslims from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the Prosecution witness, who was the chief of the UN military observers in 1992 and 1993, told the court that Milosevic had “an efficient influence” over Serb leaders in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina, he also clarified that he had not suggested that Milosevic was officially liable the actions of Serb leaders outside Serbia. Wilson’s testimony echoes the submission of Stanisic’s defence lawyer, who claims that local Serb leaders involved in the alleged crimes were not subordinates of the Belgrade leadership, as the indictment claims. During the cross-examination, the witness also confirmed a claim by Stanisic’s lawyer that at the time, Milosevic seemed more inclined to put the leaders of the rebel Croatian Serb self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska under pressure to make them accept international plans in order to lift sanctions against Serbia. According to the witness, that is what led to the “deterioration” of relations between Milosevic and Serb leaders in Croatia and Bosnia. In 2013, the ICTY Trial Chamber acquitted Stanisic and Simatovic of their war crimes charges. The ICTY Appeals Chamber later overturned their acquittal in December 2015, and ordered a retrial due to a number of serious legal and factual errors that were found in the first trial. (Balkan Insight)

President of Kosovo Court announces approval of Rules of Procedure and Evidence: On Wednesday, Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, President of the newly established Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution (KRSJI), announced the approval of the court’s rules of procedure and evidence. The KRSJI, created by the government of Kosovo in agreement with the European Union and based in The Hague, has been set up to try members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) for alleged crimes committed between 1998-2000 against ethnic minorities and political opponents. The official approval of the court’s rules is a crucial step forward which allows the Prosecution to start issuing indictments. “Within seven days as of today, there will be no legal impediment to receive any filing or indictment from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office,” confirmed Judge Trendafilova in a statement. (ABCNews)

Legal Documentation Centre opened in Phnom Penh on Khmer Rouge atrocities: Wednesday saw the official opening of the Legal Documentation Centre in Phnom Penh, which will house reams of documents produced from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which has tried senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The Centre consists of legal and historical archives, a library and of a “virtual tribunal”. The Centre was inaugurated by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, who has been recently appointed as the head of the government’s task force on the Khmer Rouge trials, and who took the opportunity to open up about the hardship he witnessed first-hand under the Khmer Rouge. (Phnom Penh Post)