UN Court to Deliver Verdict in Serbian Security Officials’ Trial

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague will hand down its verdict on Wednesday in the retrial of former Serbian State Security officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who are accused of controlling Serb fighters who committed crimes during the Croatian and Bosnian wars.

During closing arguments in April, the prosecution urged the court to sentence Stanisic and Simatovic to life imprisonment, while the defence called for an acquittal.

Stanisic, the former head of Serbian State Security, and Franko 'Frenki' Simatovic, his former deputy, are being retried for alleged participation in a joint criminal enterprise whose aim was the forcible and permanent removal of the majority of non-Serbs, mainly Croats and Bosniaks, from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 1991 to 1995.

Stanisic and Simatovic are accused of having "directed and organised the financing, training, logistical support and other substantial assistance or support" for Serbian State Security special armed units and other Serb forces, such as paramilitary groups that were involved committing crimes during the wars in both countries.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Experts say the verdict is significant because it could establish the facts about Serbia's much-denied direct involvement in both conflicts.

However, even though Stanisic and Simatovic were senior officials in Slobodan Milosevic's regime during the 1990s, their impending verdict has received little coverage in Serbian media.

Unlike the recent verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, Stanisic and Simatovic's case has also been little commented upon by current Serbian officials.

The two men were...

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