Trajkovski investigation reopened on new evidence

06/12/2012

BiH reopens plane crash investigation in light of new evidence from Macedonian authorities.

By Biljana Lajmanovska and Bedrana Kaletovic for Southeast European Times in Skopje and Sarajevo -- 06/12/12

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BiH officials are reopening the investigation into the 2004 plane crash that killed Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and eight others. [AFP]

After receiving new evidence from Macedonia, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are re-opening the investigation of the February 26th 2004 plane crash that killed Macedonia President Boris Trajkovski and eight passengers and crew.

Trajkovski and the other passengers died when the presidential plane crashed en route to a conference in Mostar. The initial investigation of the plane crash concluded that the cause was a "procedural pilot error during landing at the airport in Mostar." No charges were filed.

"We hope that everything that the Macedonian Commission came upon will be further investigated by BiH authorities and this will end the doubts that we and our citizens have," Macedonia Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska said.

Experts told SETimes that renewing the investigation after such a long period of time is a sensitive issue.

"The crucial evidence are the two black boxes from the presidential plane. But in the initial investigation only one of them, the cockpit voice recorder, could be and was analysed. The whole investigation was based on this information. The experts in Switzerland could not get to the information from the flight data recorder," said Zoran Dorevski, a security expert and author of the book Controversies of the Flight Zulu 3 Brava-Alpha-Bravo.

The responsibility for investigating aircraft accidents in BiH belongs to the Ministry of Communications and Transport. Omer Kulic, president of the Commission for Aviation at the ministry, will be in charge of the renewed probe. He said investigators will seek statements from the witnesses of the accident one more time.

"The government of Macedonia has formed a committee that worked for six years on this issue. They have done many things, collected new evidence, and we are constantly in touch with them," Kulic told SETimes.

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Ignjat Panchevski, lawyer for the Trajkovski family, claimed that the plane was struck by a missile and said that he has satellite images of the incident.

"Out of all relevant sources that I talked to during my research, no one has seen such images," Dorevski said. "If there are satellite images they should be made public."

Kulic said the investigation will not go in the direction of the speculation, since there is no evidence to support it.

"It is in the interest of BiH to complete the investigation and stop speculation about the causes of the accident,“ said Damir Hadzic, BiH minister of communications and transport.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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