Radić wants Serbia to pay damages for Hague years

BELGRADE -- Miroslav Radić, who was found not guilty of war crimes charges, wants Serbia to pay damages for the four and a half years he spent in custody there.

Radić, a former captain in the Yugoslav National Army, whose acquittal on charges of war crimes in Vukovar by the Hague Tribunal, made him the first Serbian suspect to be found not guilty by the court, wants Serbia to pay him compensation to the tune of EUR 540,000.

According to the Serbian judiciary, since the trial did not take place in Serbia, the country cannot be held liable for these expenses.

If he had been tried in Serbia, he would have been reimbursed accordingly, his lawyers claim, citing the Law on Criminal Procedure.

They claim that since the Serbian Law on Cooperation with the Tribunal authorized the transfer of the right to trials of its citizens to the Hague court, the trial in The Hague should be considered a domestic court case.

Radić said that he had decided to take the matter to court after unsuccessful efforts to reach an out-of-court settlement.

At today’s preliminary hearing, the state called for Radić’s motion to be dismissed, because there was no basis for his claims that Serbia was liable to pay damages because of its cooperation with the Tribunal.

When Radić’s lawyers asked who was then liable for paying the damages, Judge Vera Prčić, said that the UN Security Council, which founded the Tribunal, could ultimately decide that.

The First Municipal Court will now ask the National Council for Hague Cooperation to supply it with all documentation regarding the Radić case, because the prosecution wants to prove that Serbia was involved in the case all the way up until the verdict was delivered.

Radić said that he was living off a disability pension and that he had not received any assistance from the state, which he had been expecting upon his return from The Hague.