Niš District Court Delays Trial for the Third Time

The Niš District Court delayed the trial of Miloš Simonović, an active police officer, and Dragiša Marković, a former reservist of the Serbian Ministry of Interior from Belgrade for the third time because the defendant Simonović, who is on provisional release, did not respond to the subpoena.

During the last main hearing session held on 11 February 2009, an HLC lawyer representing the injured parties demanded that the Presiding Judge issues an arrest warrant against defendant Simonović since the Prosecutor did not file a motion, thus providing conditions for the beginning of the retrial.

Simonović and Marković are prosecuted before the Niš District Court for the criminal act of murder. They have been charged with the murder of an Albanian, Isa Emini from Priština committed on 5 May 1999. Allegedly, they entered his apartment, took his wife into another room, tied her hands and gagged her. Then they fired two bullets to the left side of his head.

The Niš District Court opened the main hearing in this case on 14 September 2004. During the first instance proceedings, the main hearing was delayed on several occasions because the defendants did not receive subpoenas. Due to the passage of time, the main hearing had to start over on two occasions and all pieces of evidence had to be adduced again. The first instance trial was completed eight years after the murder of Isa Emini, with acquittal rendered and publicly announced on 15 June 2007.

After the Supreme Court reversed the first instance judgment on 30 June 2008 and returned the case for retrial, the main hearing was scheduled three times, 28 November 2008, 25 December 2008, and finally for 11 February 2009. However, the trial has not even begun a full six months after the judgment was reversed.

The main hearing was not initiated due to the fact that the defendant Simonović avoids receiving subpoena by not informing the court of the change of address or by not responding to the subpoena that had been served to him. The other defendant also avoided appearing before the court during the previous trial. However, on 11 February, he was brought from the Central Prison in Belgrade, where he has been detained due to allegations that he had committed the act of fraud.