The Ministry of Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) confirmed to reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) that a former police commissionaire of Una-Sana Canton (USK) was arrested in Slovenia.
Nikola Sladoje, assistant to the minister, said that law enforcement agencies in BiH have been informed about Brkić’s detention in Slovenia. Sladoje said that the BiH justice minister will in due course submit an extradition order.
In Nov 2015, the Court of BiH sentenced Brkić to 11 years on charges of the abuse of office and production and trade in narcotics. He fled BiH before he could be sent to prison and police issued an arrest warrant via Interpol.
The Court in BiH also sentenced his co-defendants Senad Šabić to 10 years and Satko Kekić to five years in prison.
In 2010, Brkić in official capacity got in touch with Šabić, Kekić and other co-defendants involved in the production of drugs in the canton. They agreed to do business.
Šabić and the group started to grow marijuana on several locations in the canton, while the police commissioner took a cut for tipping them off about the upcoming police raids.
The Court also established that Šabić paid Brkić to suspend four police officers whom he had reported earlier to the police. Even though the policemen were acquitted, Brkić eventually suspended them under the pretext that he just did his job.
In 2015, police arrested Brkić and Šabić together with Azra Miletić, an appeal judge with the Court of BiH, on allegations that they bribed her to hand down a favorable verdict. Thus, the retrial against Brkić, Šabić and Kekić began with a different panel.
Brkić and Šabić had been on trial for production and trade in drugs and bribery before the panel chaired by Miletić. After Miletić was sentenced to 30 months in prison, the Court of BiH threw out that ruling on appeal last year and ordered a retrial before the Municipal Court in Sarajevo.
The prosecution against Brkić et al. was initiated after the State Investigation and Protection Agency conducted in Dec 2010 a major police operation code-named Kastel. The detectives arrested 41 people, including police officials and USK officeholders, after several months of investigation.
During investigation and trials, 12 defendants pleaded guilty while seven got acquitted. One case was transferred to the Cantonal Court in Bihać.
CIN’s coverage of the police operation and the subsequent trials before the Court of BiH resulted in a documentary “Policemen and(or) Criminals” that has exposed, in documents and interviews, the narcotics trade and illegal recruitment in the USK Ministry of Internal Affairs. CIN reporters won two awards for the documentary – one from the ACCOUNT network and the European Union’s award for investigative reporting in BiH.