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Date Set for Final Arguments on Stanisic/Simatovic

Judges announce September date for closing arguments against former Serbian intelligence officials.
By Rachel Irwin

Closing arguments in the case of the former senior Serbian intelligence officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic will be held between September 11 and 13, judges announced at an administrative hearing in The Hague this week.

The prosecution alleges that Simatovic was head of the Special Operations Unit or JSO, within Serbia’s State Security agency, known as DB. As such, he was under the command of his co-accused in this trial Jovica Stanisic, who was head of the DB from 1991 to 1998.

The two men are accused of participating in a joint criminal enterprise intended to forcibly and permanently remove non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia through persecution, murder and deportation.

According to the indictment, Stanisic and Simatovic established, organised and financed training centres for paramilitary units and other forces from Serbia which were then sent into Croatia and Bosnia, where they committed crimes and forced non-Serb populations out of seized towns and villages.

Both men were arrested in March 2003 by Serbian authorities. Their trial did not begin until May 2008 and was suspended shortly after until June 2009 due to Stanisic’s ill health. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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