The Basic Court in Banja Luka refused to confirm the indictment filed against four police officers of the Banja Luka Police Administration by the District Prosecutor’s Office for abuse of official position or authority during the arrest of Bruno Batinic at the “Justice for David” group meeting in June 2019.
As confirmed for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH), the Basic Court in Banja Luka, according to the preliminary hearing judge, issued a decision refusing to confirm the indictment against members of the Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior (RS MUP).
“Confirmation of the indictment against the suspects V.Š., M.V., D.N. and E.M. due to criminal offenses of abuse of official position or authority under Article 315, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republika Srpska, violation of human dignity by abuse of official position or authority under Article 329 of the RS CC in conjunction with the criminal offense of unlawful deprivation of liberty under Article 143, paragraph 2. in connection with paragraph 1 of the RS Criminal Code, and on the basis of Article 243, paragraph 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republika Srpska “, confirmed the Basic Court in Banja Luka.
Bruno Batinic was arrested in June 2019 near the Church of Christ the Savior in the center of Banja Luka, where citizens gathered around the informal group “Justice for David”, and the police did not allow them to enter the churchyard. Batinic was deprived of his liberty by the police after he asked them why they wanted to identifizy him. He was knocked down on the asphalt and taken to the police station. The Banja Luka police then claimed that Batinic physically opposed the police officers.
“Namely, after he refused to act on the lawful order of the police officers, B.B. began to offer active resistance during his imprisonment, as a result of which one police officer was injured. Bruno Batinic committed a misdemeanor with the mentioned act, for which he was sanctioned by handing over a misdemeanor warrant “, they announced after Batinic’s arrest from the Police Administration of Banja Luka.
The Basic Court left the possibility of appealing its decision within 24 hours, and the Banja Luka District Public Prosecutor’s Office could not immediately answer whether it would appeal this decision of the judge for the previous procedure of the Basic Court.
After the indictment was filed in August, Bruno Batinic told BIRN BiH that he was happy that the prosecution was “finally a little shaken up” and that he hoped “this will be a sign when other cases are in question”. After the court refused to confirm the indictment, he briefly told BIRN BiH that he was not surprised and expected such an outcome.
Ozren Perduv from the group “Justice for David” said that in that informal group of citizens they do not trust the work of the Prosecutor’s Office.
“I’m afraid that even this little thing they do is just an illusion and a mask. It is necessary to see what the reasoning of the Court is and to determine whether the Prosecutor’s Office made obvious and intentional omissions, which is not excluded “, commented Ozren Perduv on the decision of the Court.
In March this year, BIRN BiH wrote about the investigation that was being conducted at that time against 15 police officers from Banja Luka by the local District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In June 2019, members of the informal group of citizens “Justice for David” gathered on the promenade near the temple, and the police legitimized them every day and wrote them misdemeanor charges for violating public order and peace and violating the Law on Public Gathering. All those reports later fell unfounded at the Banja Luka Basic Court.
After the arrest, Bruno Batinic’s lawyer, Jovana Kisin, filed criminal charges against at least seven police officers – whose identities could be established – for unlawful deprivation of liberty and endangerment, unnecessary and excessive force, forcible extortion of confession, preventing contact between the lawyer and the injured party.