Naser Oric's defense has called on the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to order the termination of the proceedings against the war-time commander in the BH Army. The charges against him were brought before the State Court in Sarajevo

Naser Oric in front of the Appeal ChamberNaser Oric in front of the Appeal Chamber

The defense of Naser Oric, who was tried by the Tribunal in The Hague, has asked Theodor Meron, the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, to appoint a panel of judges which would order the BH State Court to terminate the proceedings against the former BH Army commander in Srebrenica.

In the motion disclosed today, lawyers Vasvija Vidovic and John Jones have invoked Article 7 of the Mechanism's Statute, which stipulates that 'no person shall be tried before a national court for acts constituting serious violations of international humanitarian law under the present Statute for which he or she has already been tried by the ICTY, the ICTR, or the Mechanism'. Oric’s defense has also invoked the Rules of Procedure which stipulate that if the president of the Mechanism receives reliable information that proceedings have been instituted before a national court against a person who has already been tried before one of the international tribunals, the president should issue a ‘reasoned order' to ‘permanently terminate’ the proceedings.

The indictment against Naser Oric was submitted in late August 2015 to the BH State court, charging him with violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions. As a commander in the BH Army, the indictment alleges, Oric abused Serb detainees. The indictment also accuses Oric and Sabahudin Mihic of killing three prisoners - Slobodan Ilic, Milutin Milosevic and Mitar Savic - in Zalazje, Lolici and Kunjerac in 1992.

Those killings were not specifically listed in the Tribunal's indictment against Oric, but the proceedings in Sarajevo pertain to the same military activities which were the basis of the case in The Hague, the defense argues: the BH Army actions in Eastern Bosnia in 1992 and 1993. According to the defense, the fact that the crimes committed in that period were given a different legal qualification in the two indictments, issued in The Hague and in Sarajevo, is irrelevant.

Allegations related to the crimes listed in the BH indictment against Oric were available to the prosecutors in the Tribunal before the indictment was issued in The Hague, the defense claims. Consequently, they were covered by the proceedings before the Tribunal and Oric cannot stand trial for the same crimes in Sarajevo. Oric's defense has urged the president of the Mechanism to appoint a panel of judges which will order the BH Court to terminate the proceedings.

In 2008, the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber reversed the trial judgment from June 2006, in which Naser Oric was sentenced to two years in prison for failing to prevent killings and for cruel treatment of Serb prisoners in Srebrenica in late 1992 and early 1993.

Oric was arrested in June 2015 in Switzerland under an arrest warrant issued by the public prosecutor’s office in Serbia and was extradited to BH.