The state court ordered the release of former Bosnian Serb special policeman Zeljko Ivanovic, jailed for assisting the Srebrenica genocide, because the wrong criminal code was used at his trial.
Ivanovic was granted immediate release on Friday after the Bosnian constitutional court quashed the verdict against him – the latest in a series of similar cases that have seen war crimes convicts freed.
Ivanovic, a former member of the Sekovici unit of the Bosnian Serb special police, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for taking part in the killing of about 1,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica on July 13, 1995 in the Kravica warehouse near Bratunac.
The Bosnian state court sentenced him according to the criminal code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was adopted in 2003.
But the constitutional court said that Ivanovic should have been tried under the law that was in use at the time of his crime, the criminal code of the former Yugoslavia, and quashed the verdict
Over 15 war crimes convicts have been released in Bosnia since the summer of last year, after the European Court of Human Rights decided in one case involving two convicts – Goran Damjanovic and Aduladhim Maktouf – that the Bosnian state court had wrongly used the 2003 criminal code in some of its cases.
Around 20 more war crimes convicts have appealed against their verdicts on the same grounds.