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Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Zoran Janković

Court Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Section I for War Crimes, Appellate Division, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Case number X-KRŽ-06/234
Decision title Verdict
Decision date 23 October 2007
  • Zoran Janković
  • Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Categories Crimes against humanity
Keywords crimes against humanity, deportation, Murder, persecution
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In the second instance verdict in the Zoran Janković case, the Appellate Division found the appeal to be unfounded and upheld the first instance verdict, acquitting the accused of the charges entered against him. This decision was based on the lack of valid evidence that the accused participated in the incident or that he held any position which would have enabled him to issue orders with respect to the incident.

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Procedural history

The Court confirmed the indictment on 6 November 2006. On 24 November 2006 the accused pleaded not guilty. See the initial indictment (30 October 2006) and the amended indictment (11 June 2007).

On 29 November 2006 the Court rendered a decision partially upholding an appeal filed by the Defence for the accused and modifying the decision of 7 November 2006 so that the accused is released from custody with a number of restrictive measures. The trial commenced on 26 March 2007. On 19 June 2007 the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina rendered the first instance verdict where it acquitted Zoran Janković of the charges of crimes against humanity due to lack of evidence.

More procedural information can be found here.

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Legally relevant facts

The accused Zoran Janković was a member of the Serb army.

According to the indictment, on 29 April 1992, together with the commander of the Artillery Unit in Osmaci and members of paramilitary formations, he captured a group of Bosniak civilians and escorted them to Rašidov Han in Snagovo. Here, he participated in the killing of 36 and wounding of three civilians from this group. The accused then allegedly participated in setting the dead victims’ bodies on fire in order to conceal evidence of the crime.

More legally relevant facts can be found here.

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Core legal questions

The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina asked the Appellate Division to review whether there has been an essential violation of the provisions of criminal procedure under Article 297(1)(k) of the Criminal Procedure Code of BiH and erroneously or incompletely established facts under Article 299 of the Criminal Procedural Code of BiH (p. 1).

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Specific legal rules and provisions

Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Article 172(1)(h) (crimes against humanity).

Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Article 185(2)(a)-(f)  (types of costs).
  • Article 189(1) (costs of proceedings in case the proceedings are discontinued or a verdict is rendered acquitting the accused or rejecting the charges).
  • Article 198(3) (ruling on the claims under property law).
  • Article 297(1)(k) (essential violations of the criminal procedure provisions).
  • Article 299 (incorrectly or incompletely established facts).
  • Articled 310(1) (decisions on the appeal).
  • Article 313 (refusing the appeal).
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Court's holding and analysis

The Appellate Division found the grounds of appeal to be unfounded and upheld the first instance verdict. It found that there was no valid evidence that the accused Zoran Janković was present at the time of the incident and that the Prosecution failed to offer any evidence which would lead to the conclusion that the accused held any position which would enable him to issue orders with respect to the incident (p. 6). The Division also found inconsistencies in the testimonies of several witnesses (p. 6). Finally, it applied the principle in dubio pro reo, according to which in case of doubt, the incriminated actions have to be resolved in a way which is most  avourable for the accused (p. 5).

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials