The trial of former high-ranking Bosnian Serb police officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin started today with the opening statement of the prosecution. Stanisic and Zupljanin are charged with taking part in the joint criminal enterprise in which police forces under their control perpetrated numerous crimes throughout BH

Joanna Korner, tužiteljica na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu ŽupljaninuJoanna Korner, tužiteljica na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu Župljaninu

In the opening statement at the beginning of the trial of former Bosnian Serb police leaders Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin, prosecutor Joanna Korner indicated the prosecution intended to prove their responsibility for the crimes perpetrated by Serb police against Bosnian Muslims and Croats from April to December 1992.

The prosecution doesn’t allege that Stanisic and Zupljanin directly participated in those crimes; nevertheless Korner said, they knew of the crimes and ‘instigated them by failing to punish perpetrators’. As Korner put it, it is not a case of ‘mere omission by not doing’ but ‘an affirmative sign of the commitment to the joint criminal enterprise aimed at ridding the territory of non-Serb population’. According to the prosecution, Bosnian Serb MUP played an important role in the success of the joint criminal enterprise headed by Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Biljana Plavsic and Ratko Mladic.

MUP personnel, the prosecution contends, were ‘active participants’ in that enterprise. By playing a significant role in the forcible takeover of power in municipalities that were to form part of a future Serb state, they were direct perpetrators of mass murders, as those in Kotor Varos and Koricanske Stijene. MUP members also ran notorious camps like Omarska, Keraterm, and other prisoner facilities. Non-Serbs were beaten, tortured and sexually abused there and many were killed or died later as a consequence of abuse.

The prosecutor presented a historical overview of the events preceding the crimes alleged in the indictment, setting up a framework to be filled in the months to come by witness testimony, documents and other evidence. Several documentary film clips were shown in which the accused speak about their roles and the MUP activities.

[IMAGE]4312[/IMAGE]As participants in the joint criminal enterprise, Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin are charged with murder, extermination, deportation and torture of non-Serb civilians in various parts of BH in 1992. At that time Stanisic served as interior minister in the first Bosnian Serb war government. Zupljanin, Stanisic’s immediate subordinate, was a member of the Crisis Staff of the so-called Autonomous Region Krajina (ARK) and chief of the Security Services Center in Banja Luka.

In November 2008, after the joinder of their indictments, both Stanisic and Zupljanin pleaded not guilty. Their cases were joined in September 2008, some months after Zupljanin was arrested after 11 years in hiding. Mico Stanisic surrendered voluntarily in 2005 and had been provisionally released pending trial.

The Trial Chamber comprises Judge Burton Hall from Bahamas, presiding, Judge Guy Delvoi from Belgium and Judge Frederik Harhoff from Denmark.