Closing arguments in Jovica Stanisic Case for War Crimes to take place on April 12th

The closing arguments in the case of Prosecutor v. Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) will take place on Monday, 12 April 2021, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 and Wednesday, 14 April 2021 in the Courtroom of the Mechanism’s Hague branch, pursuant to the Scheduling Order issued by the Trial Chamber on 18 March 2021.

The Prosecution will have four hours to present its closing arguments. The Defence teams will have five hours in total for the presentation of their closing arguments, equally divided between them, unless both Defence teams agree otherwise. The Prosecution will have one hour for rebuttal arguments and the Defence teams will have one hour in total for rejoinder arguments.

The hearings will be publicly broadcast on the Mechanism’s website with a 30-minute delay and will be available at the following link: https://www.irmct.org/en/cases/mict-courtroom-broadcast in English, French and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

This is the first retrial held before the Mechanism. Jovica Stanišić, formerly Deputy Chief and Chief of the State Security Service (DB) of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, and Franko Simatović, formerly employed in the Second Administration of the Serbian DB, were charged before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with having directed, organised, equipped, trained, armed, and financed special units of the DB and other Serb forces, which were involved in the commission of murder, persecution, deportation, and forcible transfer of non-Serb civilians from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995.

On 30 May 2013, an ICTY Trial Chamber found that Stanišić and Simatović could not be held criminally responsible for these crimes and acquitted both accused of all charges. Following the appeals proceedings, on 15 December 2015, the ICTY Appeals Chamber quashed the ICTY Trial Chamber’s decision and ordered a retrial and the immediate detention of the accused.

The retrial commenced before the Mechanism on 13 June 2017 with the Prosecution’s opening statement. The Prosecution case was closed on 21 February 2019. A total of 51 witnesses were heard in court for the Prosecution. The Defence case commenced on 18 June 2019 and closed on 14 January 2021, with a total of 29 witnesses heard in court for both accused. Over the course of 228 trial days, a total of 6,311 exhibits were admitted at trial, 3,860 for the Prosecution and 2,451 for both Defence teams. The parties’ final trial briefs were filed confidentially on 12 and 13 March 2021.

The case of Prosecutor v. Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović is heard before a Trial Chamber composed of Judge Burton Hall, Presiding, Judge Joseph Masanche, and Judge Seon Ki Park.

The Mechanism was established on 22 December 2010 by the United Nations Security Council to carry out a number of essential functions of the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including the trial of fugitives who are among the most senior leaders suspected of being most responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of these two tribunals.

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