Deadend for Prosecution of ‘Karadzic Supporting’ Former Deminer?

The recent media interest in the arrest of the major war crimes indictee Radovan Karadzic should turn our attention again to the seeming lack of progress in the prosecution of former Bosnian demining company owners Radomir Kojic and his brother-in-law Radislav Ilic. Kojic, in particular, was once accused of being a key post-war protector of Karadzic, having built Karadzic’s house in Pale and served as a commander of Bosnian Serb troops shelling Sarajevo during the conflict.

Both Kojic and Ilic were prominant figures in early Bosnian demining. Kojic owned a company called UNIPAK Demining. Ilic, an early government mine action official, later set up mine action companies called TerraProm and MEDECOM.  Kojic and Ilic’s companies received many mine action contracts from international donors. But in 2003-2004, Kojic had his assets frozen by the US and a travel ban slapped on him by the EU, following allegations that he was part of the network that was helping to hide Karadzic. In 2006 both of them were arrested for money laundering, tax evasion and abuse of office relating to their demining activities. 

In December 2006 they were released from jail to await trial, with some restrictive measures against them. Apart from a NATO raid on Kojic’s house in early 2007, the case appears to have slowed since then and dropped out of the news.  The latest announcement from the State Court of Bosnia of Herzegovina was that they had “issued a decision terminating prohibitive measures of surrender of personal documents for the suspect Radislav Ilić.” Inquiries I have made to the court have been ignored.

If Bosnia is to build confidence in its judicial system, organized crime cases like these will have to be dealt with more effectively.  If anyone knows any more about this case, please post a comment, I would be fascinated to see if it will go anywhere.

For more details on the Kojic and Ilic affair, see my Bosnia report. For my thoughts on the Karadzic arrest, see my entry on the Sustainable Good blog, on in the Independence Examiner.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 30 July 2008.

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