Pardons for Policemen Too
By The Center for Investigative Reporting
Njegoš Poljaković, a former inspector for the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) sentenced to two years in prison for threatening the safety of citizens in traffic, received a double grace and was forgiven from serving part of his prison sentence. In the Republika Srpska (RS) he received a parole, and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) a pardon.
In September 2009, Poljaković received a parole from the RS Ministry of Justice’s Parole Commission after serving two-thirds of his sentence, nearly 16 months. He turned to the commission because he lives in Pale, and he was an inmate in the Istočno Sarajevo Penitentiary.
He also asked the FBiH President Borjana Krišto for a pardon because his crime took place near Zenica and he was tried before the Municipal court there. He was pardoned on April 1, 2010, and released from serving the rest of his sentence. At the time, he had already been set free by the RS government. He is now the director of the bus station in Pale.
Poljaković was found guilty of causing an accident, at a time when he worked as a SIPA detective, by violating traffic rules. One person died and five others were injured in the crash. The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) reported on the Poljaković case at the end of 2007. Reporters found at the time that the Prosecutor’s Office of the Zenica-Doboj Canton had done nothing on the case after a year and that there was a danger of statute of limitations expiring.
A witness to the accident that took place in summer 2006 near the village of Janjići told CIN that Poljaković in an official vehicle was passing a line of cars and swerved at the last minute to avoid an oncoming car. The driver of the oncoming car lost control and hit another car. Amela Zahić, 22, of Prijedor died. Three of the people injured were left permanently disabled.
Poljaković pleaded not guilty during the investigation but a Zenica Municipal Court judge approved a plea bargain deal in November 2007 which led to a two-year sentence. The offense of threat to the safety of citizens in traffic carries a prison sentence of one to eight years.
Between 2006 and the end of 2010, at least 11 other RS policemen were pardoned. Former RS President Rajko Kuzmanović erased the criminal records of: Ostoja Mimić from Bijeljina, Dejan Žuža, Dragan Milivojević, Draženko Lukić, Miroslav Petrić, Stanko Maljenović, Zoran Kovačević, Željko Bilanđić, Zoran Jović, Mladen Gavrić, and Nedeljko Tomić all from Doboj.
The president’s actions leave them with clean criminal records and the opportunity to seek employment in government agencies and public companies.
First published on Jan. 16, 2011