Montenegro Indictees Deny Role In Deportation

Retrial of former policemen charged with deporting refugees from Montenegro to Bosnian Serbs in 1992 began on Thursday with the indictees pleading not guilty.The retrial is taking place after the acquittal of the nine police officers charged with war crime against civilians was overturned in March.

Milisav Markovic, Milorad Ivanovic, Dusko Bakrac, Radoje Radunovic, Milorad Sljivancanin, Bozidar Stojovic, Sreten Glendza and Branko Bujic attended the new trial at the Podgorica Superior Court on Thursday.All denied having payed any role in the arrest and deportation of 79 Bosniak and Bosnian Serb refugees to the Bosnian Serb [Republika Srpska] authorities in May 1992, after which most of the Bosniaks were executed.

Bosko Bojovic, the first indictee and chief of Montenegro’s national security at the time of the crime, is being tried in absentia.

Dusko Bakrac, who was at large for the previous trial, said that as soon after he learned that refugees were being arrested, he advised his neigbour to hide his son who duly fled.

The Centre for Civic Education, a local NGO, on Thursday urged the judicary to demonstrate its committment to the rule of law in this case.

It said that, seven years after the investigation of the crime was launched, the case was being returned to its starting point.

The first trial started in 2009 and ended last year with the acquittal of all indictees.

The reason for acquittal in the first-instance verdict was that Montenegro was not in international conflict with Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time, and because, as police officers, the indictees were not part of any military formation.

The appeals court, however, found in March that the verdict contradicted itself, as it stated in two different places that the conflict in Bosnia was both internal and international.

The retrial will resume on September 14.

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