OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina assessed the final verdict in trial of former Serbian security officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic for war crimes in BiH and Croatia as a “significant step” towards provision of justice to victims in BiH.
“The further importance of this verdict lies in its attribution of criminal responsibility to individuals who committed such heinous crimes while holding high level positions of power,” the mission said in a press release a day after the final verdict was said before the Hague-based UN court.
As the final case before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) related to the war in the 1990s, Stanisic and Simatovic close one chapter in this essential pursuit of accountability, said the mission, emphasising that these efforts must continue through domestic investigations and prosecutions.
“The Mission reiterates its commitment to supporting institutions across BiH in the processing of war crimes cases in accordance with the obligation to investigate and prosecute war crimes cases effectively, as established under international humanitarian law, and with the Revised National War Crimes Processing Strategy, pursuant to internationally recognized fair trial standards,” reads the press release.
It was also noted that establishing lasting peace and protecting the rule of law require ensuring accountability for these atrocity crimes.
“Victims and survivors of the war deserve justice and the truth, as well as redress, respect, dignity and compassion. We urge all leaders to promote peace and stability by respecting the verdicts of the international and domestic judicial institutions handling war crimes cases, noting the role such verdicts play in creating a comprehensive record of the war and in combatting historical revisionism,” the OSCE stressed.
“Looking to the future, political, religious and other public figures, as well as educators, must lead the way in building bridges and trust across the difficult and emotionally-laden chasms still affecting the South-Eastern Europe region,” it added.