Prosecutor v. Simić (Đorđe)


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Burden of Proof | Crimes Against Humanity | Evidence | Systemic Practice

Themes: Related Crimes | Characteristics of the Crime

The Court established that the accused was involved in bringing the victim to the barracks for questioning, following orders from his superior. However, it did not find that the accused had the requisite special intention to commit the crime against humanity of enforced disappearance. This was because he could not have envisaged the treatment of the victim after he was brought to the barracks. The Court held that in the absence of a pattern of disappearances or detentions, it was not possible to infer that the accused had the intent to remove the victim from the protection of the law for a long time from the mere act of the accused bringing the victim to the barracks. Furthermore, the Court found that at the relevant time there was no military activity in the area and that the population engaged in normal daily activities, meaning the requirements necessary to make a finding of the crime against humanity of enforced disappearance (a wide and systematic attack against the civilian population and a common goal of the forced disappearance of the non-Serb population), were not met. Finally, the Court did not find that the accused's act was committed with the permission, support or consent of a State, or that of a political organisation. The Court's finding was based on the fact that the accused was only an ordinary soldier and that he was not aware of the existence of a political organisation acting towards a common goal.

Judgment Date

April 10, 2018

Country

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Judicial Body

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 172(1)(i) [BCC], Article 180(1) [BCC]

Facts of the Case

The facts took place in June 1992, in a town under the control of the Yugoslav People's Army, the police and Serbian paramilitaries units. Mr. Đorđe Simić, a member of the armed forces of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, acting together with his superior, arrested Mr. Mustafa Omanbegović and brought him to military barracks. Mr. Osmanbegović was then allegedly handed over to the barracks' commander and detained there. According to some witnesses, he was subjected to forced labour. Despite his family's efforts to obtain information about his whereabouts, Mr. Osmanbegović remained unaccounted for at the time of the proceedings.

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