Nataša Kandić: Scare Tactics Used by The Prosecutor´s Office

Background : Last November former protected witness Slobodan Stojanović, former member of 37th Division of Special Units Of the Police or PJP (Posebnih jedinica policije) accused Serbia´s Head War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević, his deputy Bruno Vekarić and prosecutor Dragoljub Stanković of trying to cover up for those police officers suspected of committing war crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in October 1998. Stojanović went on to say that many of those responsible for committing war crimes in Kosovo were now charged with protecting the witnesses. Stojanović´s statement about the Prosecutor´s Office was denied by deputy prosecutor, Bruno Vekarić saying that Stojanović had left by his own free will and that though he had in the beginning acted like a model witness and everything was working fine, he later started asking for various favors. Vekarić´s statement was however discredited by Nataša Kandić, founder of Humanitarian Law Fund, who in an article for RSE 13.11.2014 supported Stojanović´s claims backed by her own experience.

This article appeared on Radio Free Europe 13 11 2014

Nataša Kandić
Nataša Kandić

In light of statements given by the deputy prosecutor Bruno Vekarić that police officer Slobodan Stojanović had by his own free will decided to leave the witness protection program in which he was enrolled in by the War Crimes Prosecutors Office in connection with the investigation against then commander of 37th Division of Special Unit Of the Police or PJP (Posebnih jedinica policije) part of Serbian MUP (Ministry of the Interior) one Radoslav Mitrović and 16 more members of the PJP. I can personally assure you it is not true. In agreement with the prosecution, witness protection unit had 29.10.2009 without any prior notification, entered the apartment of one protected witness, ordered him to collect his things, his wife and child because they would be sent back to Leskovac, he was briefly notified that his status as a protected witness had been cancelled.

Given that I was representing the victims in that particular case, during the investigation against Mitrovic and others I became familiar with the techniques used by the Prosecutors Office to deter witness Stojanović  and three more police officers, all former members of the PJP and under the command of Radoslav Mitrović from testifying about war crimes carried out in Kosovo. To this day, I still haven’t understood why the prosecutor Stanković, initiated criminal proceedings against those who had been accused by the Humanitarian Law Fund only to a few months later completely change his position and jeopardizing the position of the protected witnesses and police witness’s willingness to talk about war crimes.

In this case, I am, after seven years of representing the families of the victims in all cases of war crimes, subjected to insult by defense attorneys for the defendants in the presence of the investigating judge and the prosecutor, who spoke about me in a language that can be heard in a brothel. In order to get me, as well as the protected witnesses, as far away from the proceedings as possible the investigating judge and the prosecutor went so far as to have agreed with defense counsel that there were grounds for suspecting that I had falsified power of attorney families of the victims, which led to my exclusion from the proceedings. After that, the prosecutor, the investigating judge and individual defenders got drunk on the premises of the Prosecutors Office calling witness Stojanovic to join them.

Vladimir Vukčević and Bruno Vekarić
Vladimir Vukčević and Bruno Vekarić

The fate of protected witness B.Z. was just as horrible. He had spent more than two years in the witness protection program, waiting for someone from the Prosecutors Office to come and take his statement. Members of the unit for protection of witnesses had brought him to the point of complete disorientation using their techniques. He left the program by his own free will because he could no longer stand the mental torture. I was aware of his situation, and I suggested to him to seek political asylum in a European country. Had he remained under the protection of the Prosecutor´s Office and the witness protection unit, he’d be a seriously ill person.

The result of the process against witnesses – insiders and me personally meant freedom for Police General Radoslav Mitrovic but it seriously compromised the Prosecutor´s Office and Witness Protection Units, all of which is exceedingly documented in the report by the Humanitarian Law Fund regarding illegalities in the prosecution of war crimes and numerous appeals of protected witnesses.

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