The FBiH President Accused of Illegal Pardons

Wednesday November 27th, 2013
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The State Prosecutor’s Office accused Živko Budimir and six more persons for pardoning of those sentenced for murders, tax evasion, drug trade and other criminal offences.

Živko Budimir

According to the charges Budimir signed pardons alone or with the assistance of the other accused ones, on his own initiative or at the requests of politicians and criminals. (PHOTO: CIN)

By The Center for Investigative Reporting

The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosia and Herzegovina (BiH) has filed an indictment against the President of BiH Federation (FBiH) Živko Budimir and six other persons.

The other accused along with Budimir are: his advisor Petar Barišić, the FBiH Justice Minister Zoran Mikulić, the president of the United Veterans Organization of FBiH Saud Kulosman, the president of the Pardoning Commission Hidajet Halilović, a legislator at the FBiH House of Representatives Željko Asić and Armin Kulovac.

Budimir pardoned the convicts by expunging their criminal records or by cutting down their sentences or letting them get away without serving time according to the indictment.

The prosecutors allege that Budimir signed pardons alone or with the assistance of the other accused ones, on his own initiative or at the requests from the politicians and criminals alike.

Among those who were pardoned were convicted murderers, those sentenced for attempted murders, tax evasion, drug trafficking; those on the run or who have been waiting to go to prison as well as reoffenders.

The indictment against Budimir et all lists the names of 27 pardoned persons among whom are Mersed Hadžić a.k.a. The Swiss, Naser Orić, Elvis Hodžić, Damir Vašiček and Alija Delimustafić.

According to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office charges, Budimir received a €40,000 bribe to pardon Hadžić.

Hadžić received 2.5 years for murder and was pardoned in August 2012, not long after he began serving his sentence. The prosecutors say that the minister Zoran Mikulić asked the Pardoning Commission to approve Hadžić’s request despite its earlier objections.

“I have never denied that there was some pressure, requests to help certain people, but this is not illegal. That’s (called) lobbing”, Budimir told CIN earlier. He said that he responded to pleas from the convicts who were in dire straits and denied taking money for pardons.

The FBiH President was arrested on April 26, 2013 and was kept in jail for a month. Budimir and the rest of the accused are charged with the misuse of office and authority, illegal interceding, and giving and receiving of gifts and other forms of benefits.

Budimir’s attorney Ragib Hadžić told CIN today that he had not yet read the indictment, but that the defense was pleased that the case has finally reached the court.
According to the charges, Budimir also signed pardons for persons who had already been pardoned for the same offence. According to a CIN investigation, Budimir pardoned at least three persons who had already been pardoned for the same offence. These are a former president of Tuzla Canton government Hazim Vikala, a former interior minister of BiH Alija Delimustafić and a former employee of the Municipal Court in Čapljina Irena Obradović.

Published: Nov 27, 2013.

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The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) work is available for free to all organizations that credit CIN as their source and link to www.cin.ba.

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