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Court of BiH delivered a Decision in the Case of Five Persons over War Crimes

Having held a hearing in the criminal case against the accused Minet Akeljić, Šaban Haskić, Senad Bilal a.k.a. Zaim, Hazim Patković and Šemsudin Đelilović, the Appellate Division Panel of Section I for War Crimes at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered a judgment dismissing as ill-founded the appeal filed by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the appeals filed respectively by defense counsel for the accused Minet Akeljić and the accused himself, defense counsel for the accused Šaban Haskić, defense counsel for the accused Senad Bilal, and defense counsel for the accused Hazim Patković, and upheld the judgment handed down by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, No. S1 1 K 017182 16 Kri on 2 October 2018.

The trial judgment of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, No. S1 1 K 017182 16 Kri of 2 October 2018, found the accused Minet Akeljić, Šaban Haskić, Senad Bilal and Hazim Patković guilty that by the acts described in the conviction they committed the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 142(1) of the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (CC SFRY), and under individual counts also in conjunction with Article 22 of the Code, so they were accordingly sentenced as follows, pursuant to Articles 38 and 41 of the CC SFRY: the accused Minet Akeljić and Šaban Haskić to 7 (seven) years of imprisonment each, the accused Senad Bilal to 8 (eight) years of imprisonment, and the accused Hazim Patković to 5 (five) years of imprisonment.

Pursuant to Article 198(2) of the CPC BiH, the judgment advised the victims to pursue their compensation claims in civil proceedings.

Conversely, the accused Minet Akeljić, Šaban Haskić, Hazim Patković, Senad Bilal and Šemsudin Đelilović, pursuant to Article 284, Subparagraph c), and in relation to Šemsudin Đelilović also Subparagraph a) of the CPC BiH, were acquitted of the charges that by the acts described in the acquittal they committed the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 173(1)c) and War Crimes against Prisoners of War under Article 175(1)a) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CC BiH), as read with Articles 180(1) and 29 of the Code.

In relation to the acquittal, the accused were relieved of the obligation to cover the costs of the criminal proceedings and the court’s scheduled amount, pursuant to Article 189(1) of the CPC BiH.

The BiH Prosecutor’s Office duly appealed the trial judgment, on the grounds of incorrectly and incompletely established facts, as well as the sentencing decision, moving the court to reverse the challenged judgment and find the accused Minet Akeljić, Šaban Haskić, Senad Bilal, Hazim Patković and Šemsudin Đelilović guilty also under Counts 1.1, 1.4, 2.7, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 6.2 of the indictment, and impose on them more stringent sentences, and on Šemsudin Đelilović a sentence of imprisonment in accordance with law, or to revoke the acquittal and order a new trial. As for the sentencing decision, the Prosecution moved that the challenged acquittal be reversed and more stringent penalties imposed on the accused.

Defense counsel for the accused Minet Akeljić, attorney Irsan Kukić, filed his appeal on the grounds of essential violations of criminal procedure provisions under Article 297(1), Subparagraphs h), i), j), k), and Paragraph (2), of the CPC BiH, incorrectly or incompletely established facts, as well as the sentencing decision, moving the Appellate Division Panel to reverse the challenged judgment and acquit the accused Minet Akeljić of the charges or impose on him a more lenient punishment, or to revoke the judgment altogether and order a retrial. The accused Minet Akeljić personally filed an appeal on the same grounds, and with the same motion.

Defense counsel for the accused Šaban Haskić, attorney Bekir Ferizović, filed his appeal on the grounds of essential violations of criminal procedure provisions, incorrectly or incompletely established facts, as well as the sentencing decision, moving the Appellate Division Panel to reverse the challenged judgment and dismiss the charges, or to reverse the challenged judgment and acquit the accused Šaban Haskić, or to revoke the challenged judgment and order a retrial.

Defense counsel for the accused Senad Bilal, attorney Dževad Kadribašić, filed his appeal on the grounds of essential violations of criminal procedure provisions under Article 297(1), Subparagraphs k) and d), of the CPC BiH, incorrectly or incompletely established facts, as well as violations of the Criminal Code, moving the Appellate Division Panel to revoke the challenged judgment and order a retrial, or to reverse the judgment and acquit the accused Senad Bilal.

Defense counsel for the accused Hazim Patković, attorney Fadil Abaz, filed his appeal on the grounds of essential violations of criminal procedure provisions, incorrectly or incompletely established facts, as well as the sentencing decision, moving the Appellate Division Panel to grant the appeal and reverse the challenged judgment so as to acquit the accused of all charges, or to revoke the judgment and hold a retrial.

Defense counsel for all the accused, as well as the accused Šaban Haskić personally, submitted responses to the prosecutor’s appeal, moving that it be dismissed as ill-founded.

At the session of the Appellate Division Panel held on 6 June 2019, the prosecutor and defense counsel briefly presented their appeals grievances, essentially maintaining their respective written submissions and motions, with which the accused fully concurred. Also, defense counsel stood by their written responses to the prosecutor’s appeal.

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