Prosecutors have asked the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal to sentence former Serbian spy chiefs Jovica Stanischi and Franco Simatovic to life imprisonment.
Two former Serbian spy chiefs and Slobodan Milosevic’s assistants have been retrial for several years on charges of running a death squad during the Balkan wars in the 1990s and are facing a United Nations court sentence.
Jovica Stanisic, the 70-year-old former head of the Serbian National Security Agency, and his 71-year-old deputy Franko Simatovic are accused of supporting paramilitary organizations in Bosnia and Croatia.
They included an elite unit called the “Red Berets” and a frightening paramilitary organization run by Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic called “Arkan’s Tigers”, and they allegedly killed hundreds of people together.
The verdict in The Hague on Wednesday can be appealed. This is the final United Nations prosecution for crimes committed during the bloody division of Yugoslavia.
The independent but related conflicts following the collapse of communism in 1992 resulted in the deaths of approximately 130,000 people and the displacement of millions.
A court spokesperson told AFP that Stanisic and Simatović, who have been released on bail, will appear in court after surrendering themselves at the United Nations Detention Center in The Hague last week.
Both confessed to crimes against humanity and war crimes of murder, such as persecution, murder, deportation and forced transfer.
The prosecutor is seeking life imprisonment.
The judges will announce their decision at 13:00 GMT. The verdict will be broadcast live, with a delay of 30 minutes.
In 2013, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Stanischi and Simatovic were acquitted and released for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
But in 2015, in a rare change after protests and prosecutors’ appeals, the judge ordered a retrial on the grounds of a legal error in the first trial.
The retrial was conducted in the UN International Criminal Tribunal’s remaining matter handling mechanism. It started in 2017, and the final debate took place in April 2021.
Earlier this month, the appellate judge of the same court comfirmed The former Bosnian Serb military chief, Ratko Mladic, was convicted for his role in the atrocities throughout the Bosnian War and maintained his sentence of life imprisonment for genocide.
The United Nations prosecutor said the couple were part of a joint criminal enterprise that included the late Serbian President Milosevic (died in The Hague in 2006) and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who was serving life imprisonment.
The indictment against them stated that Stanischi and Simatović “organized, supplied, funded, supported and directed” Serb paramilitary organizations that killed Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs, forcing them to leave large areas. Seeking to establish a Serb-administered state. .
The indictment included at least 280 deaths in approximately two dozen specific attacks on towns and villages carried out by the Red Berets and the LTTE.
Tigers captain Alcan was sued by the Hague court, but was shot dead in Belgrade in 2000.
Stanisic and Simatovic were transferred to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2003 and were arrested by Serbian police after the assassination of Serbian reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
A shady figure in the war for a long time, Stanisic first appeared before the public in early 1995. As Milosevic’s special envoy, he negotiated with the Serb leaders in Bosnia and demanded the release of hundreds of people. United Nations soldiers.
Stanischi was fired in October 1998 before the escalation of the Kosovo war in 1999. According to reports, he disagreed with Milosevic’s repressive policy of the Albanian majority in the province.