Wednesday, September 26, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (26.September,2007) – The Bosnian Justice Minister Bariša Čolak has expressed regret that Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić is still in custody in Serbia - and has said that the Bosnian authorities are doing whatever is possible to help him.

"The Bosnian Ministry of Justice and myself have undertaken all actions that are possible within the legal framework related to application of bilateral agreements between the two countries, and within the scope of all international conventions signed and ratified by Bosnia and Serbia. We have done absolutely everything we could," Čolak said.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

Jurišić is also former chairman of the Municipal Council of Tuzla, and a member of the city's Public Safety Service emergency headquarters.

"If it was up to us to decide, Jurišić would be processed before the Bosnian State Court." Čolak said.

This case is also known as "the Tuzla Column".The Serbian aggressor, with the active participation of Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) forces, seized about 70 per cent of Bosnia in the first few weeks of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.JNA was totally controlled by Serbia and the role of the JNA in the early stages of the war was very important.

In May 1992,the JNA troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the eastern Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 JNA soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 JNA soldiers were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

Čolak said that, during his visit to Belgrade, he was informed that the official stand of the Serbian Ministry of Justice was that Jurišić could not be extradited to Bosnia "because the Serbian criminal code does not foresee extradition if the person is charged with a criminal offence punishable by an imprisonment of ten years or more".

The Bosnian Justice Minister Bariša Čolak said that he has not received information on the official stand of the Court Council with the Special Court of Serbia, but he has received assurances that "an investigation will be opened soon and that, in mid October, a decision will be rendered as to whether the criminal prosecution against Jurišić will be halted."

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