A motion for retrial submitted by the lawyers for Milorad Ulemek and Branko Bercek, who were found guilty of Ivan Stambolic’s murder and Vuk Draskovic’s attempted murder in 2007 and 2008 must be reconsidered due to alleged new evidence, the Appeals Court in Belgrade ruled on Thursday.
Ulemek and Bercek, top-ranking officers from the Serbian Interior Ministry’s Special Anti-Terrorist Unit, were given the maximum sentences of 40 years in prison.
Their defence claims that Bercek, who was sentenced as the direct perpetrator in Draskovic’s assassination attempt, has a different blood type than the one found at the scene of the crime.
Belgrade’s Special Court initially dismissed the defence motion for a retrial, calling it “incomplete”.
But the Appeals Court announced on Thursday that it has overturned that decision, saying that the defence should have been given time to amend its submission.
Ulemek, also known as Legija, received another 40-year sentence for masterminding the 2003 killing of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
Former Serbian President Stambolic was Milosevic’s close ally, but later became a potential political rival. He disappeared in August 2000 and it was revealed after Milosevic fell that he had been murdered.
Draskovic, the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, was one of the politicians involved in protests against Milosevic in the 1990s.
Vuk Cvijic, a journalist specialising in law enforcement and crime, told BIRN that he hopes the new court decision was made for “procedural reasons” and that “nobody will be ‘toying’ with the verdict”.
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