Ex-Fighter Sues Bosnia After War Crimes Acquittal

Zijad Hamzic's lawyer said on Thursday that his client is suing Bosnia and Herzegovina for 15,350 Bosnian marks (7,860 euros) in compensation because of the mental anguish he suffered as a result of the house arrest order and travel ban that were imposed on him during his trial.

"Hamzic was prevented from leaving his place of residence for over a year, and he was banned from travelling outside Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than four years. He was obliged to report to the police station at his place of residence, where people know him, over 150 times," said lawyer Kenan Hadzimuhovic.

He noted that a court expert, neuro-psychiatrist Abdulah Kucukalic, said during the trial that Hamzic had suffered psychologically as a result of the court-imposed measures restricting his freedom of movement.

But Nadja Hozic from the Bosnian Attorney General's office said that the claim for compensation should be rejected.

"Neither domestic legislation nor the European [human rights] convention provides for compensation for damage caused by restricting the movements of people undergoing criminal proceedings. [Bosnian] judicial officials acted in accordance with the law," Hozic said.

Hamzic and six other defendants were acquitted in September 2017 of the unlawful detention, beating and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians in Stupari, near Kladanj, between May 1992 and July 1993.

According to the charges, Hamzic was the commander of the Stupari Company of the Territorial Defence force.

BIRN reported in 2018 that over 40 former defendants had successfully sued Bosnia and Herzegovina for damages after being acquitted of war crimes in various cases and received a total of over 1.5 million euros in compensation.

Continue reading on: