Friday, January 4, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 4,2008) - The Bosnian State Prosecutor Bozidarka Dodik stated yesterday that some witnesses contacted during the investigation against Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic have received threats.

Sixteen potential witnesses have already requested protective measures in case they decide to appear before the Bosnian State Court, and one has refused to testify. In view of this, and the fear that the indictee might attempt to escape or endanger the safety of citizens, the Bosnian State Prosecutor has filed a custody extension motion for Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic with the Bosnian State Court.

"The Prosecution considers that there is a grounded fear that the indictee might attempt to interfere with witnesses if he is allowed to defend himself while at liberty," Prosecutor Bozidarka Dodik told the Bosnian State Court.

"We have received an anonymous letter from a group of citizens from Doboj concerning attempts to threaten and bribe the witnesses. One witness claims that he received an anonymous phone call, when one person threatened him.This witness asked not to be invited to appear at the court during the evidence presentation process," Dodik said.

"The indictee participated in persecution, causing of permanent physical and mental pain, and murders committed in Doboj in an insensitive and extremely bold manner. Many persons can still feel the consequences of these acts," said Dodik.

Citing the reasons for the custody extension motion, Dodik stressed that there was "a realistic danger that he might try to escape" and that the custody order was needed in order to protect "the safety of citizens".

"We consider that the indictee, after being faced with possible punishment, has a very strong motive to try to escape or hide. He is also suspected of being a member of the support network aiding fugitives from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Should he be released, he would get all the necessary support to enable him to escape, and he would be able to cross the border without any difficulties," Dodik added.

Miroslav Ristic, Kujundzic's defence attorney, described the Prosecution's requests as "ungrounded presumptions and abstract things".

The Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic's Defence has indicated that the threats against witnesses were "mere assumptions" and that previous criminal reports filed against the indictee, for menacing of public order and peace, actually referred to "drunk guests" who visited his restaurant.

The Bosnian State Court will render its decision at a later stage.

The indictment against Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic was confirmed yesterday, while a plea hearing is scheduled to take place on January 11.

The indictment, filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor in late December 2007, alleges that Kujundzic led a genocidal Serbian paramilitary group,which is associated with the war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians on the territory of Doboj in 1992 and 1993,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

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