Bosnian army veterans are right to fear prosecution from Serbia for alleged war crimes, Ifet Feraget, a Bosnian attorney told N1 Wednesday evening commenting on the arrest of a former Federation entity Interior Ministry high official Edin Vranj, adding that Bosnia did very little to prevent this from happening.
“The state hasn’t done much except concluding that the protocol on cooperation between the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office of Serbia and BiH, which implies the obligation of the two states to submit information and evidence to each other. This obligation is not respected by both sides and it results in mostly BiH citizens being arrested in Serbia. It is very interesting that the BiH Prosecutor’s Office reacted with a statement stating that this was the case upon the report of the competent police agency and that the procedure has been going on for several years,” Feraget said, adding that there are no circumstances indicating the existence of suspicion in this case.
“It’s been established that Mr Vranj has nothing to do with the events he’s been charged with. It will be interesting to see on which evidence did the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH based its order not to conduct an investigation. If Serbia didn’t submit any evidence, then it violated the protocol signed between BiH and Serbia,” Feraget said.
Speaking about the 1992-1995 veterans of the former army of the then Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Feraget noted that they should be afraid because Vranj’s case was indeed finished by the order of the BiH Prosecution.
In his opinion, Bosnia can do very little about this situation but only warn everyone for whom the state authorities have any information or indication that they might be arrested by the Serbian authorities.
The renowned attorney also spoke about the international community’s approach to the issue of Bosnia’s judiciary, saying he was very disappointed by it.
“Last night I watched the first interview with the newly appointed international community’s High Representative to BiH Christian Schmidt and I want to believe that he will do something. He said that the rule of law will be at the top of his priorities and I informed him in detail about the Memic and Dragicevic cases which, in my opinion, are two of the biggest affairs in the BiH judiciary. I briefed him in detail and he thanked me for all the information, noting that it will be at the top of his priorities,” concluded said.
In the case of Dzenan Memic, the young man’s body was discovered in February 2016 in Sarajevo’s Ilidza neighbourhood.
The court initially ruled that Memic died after being struck by a car, but in a recent trial, those accused of causing the accident were cleared of responsibility.
The father of the young man, Muriz Memic, was satisfied with the ruling because he never believed that his son’s death was accidental. He is convinced that local authorities are trying to protect the murderer of his son.
Meanwhile, there is an ongoing case before the Court of BiH against five people who were charged with trying to cover up the crime.
In March 2018, police found the lifeless body of David Dragicevic, 21, in a river near Banja Luka, the administrative centre of Bosnia’s Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska (RS).
A few days later, a pathologist told the media that the cause of death was likely drowning and that Dragicevic had taken drugs. The press conference sparked a series of protests, especially since another autopsy performed on David’s body showed a different time of death.
Dissatisfied with the investigation, the citizens formed a group ‘Justice for David’ led by his father Davor Dragicevic, who swore he would pursue justice no matter what.
The group organized a series of protests in Banja Luka, demanding the truth behind the death of Dragicevic to be revealed. The case was later reclassified into murder.