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Simatovic Granted Provisional Release

Judges note that defendant adhered to the conditions he was set on previous occasions when he was temporarily released.
By Rachel Irwin
  • Franko Simatovic in the ICTY courtroom. (Photo: ICTY)
    Franko Simatovic in the ICTY courtroom. (Photo: ICTY)

In a ruling by Hague tribunal judges this week, a former senior Serbian intelligence official was granted provisional release from detention in The Hague until the verdict in his case is rendered.

The prosecution alleges that Franko Simatovic was head of the Special Operations Unit within Serbia’s State Security agency, known as DB.

Closing arguments in the trial were held at the end of January. (See Prosecutors Seek Life for Serb Security Chiefs.)

Judges have previously granted Simatovic provisional release at various points during the trial, and this week they said they were “satisfied that the accused would not pose a danger to any victim, witness and person”.

In their February 12 decision, they noted that he had adhered to the conditions set out by the chamber.

The prosecution opposed Simatovic’s release on the grounds that there was a risk he would flee, but judges said this claim was not “substantiated”.

The judgement will be “within the not too distant future”, the decision states.

As head of the DB special operations unit, Simatovic was under the command of his co-accused 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.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.