27 Nov 14
No Prosecutions After Montenegro Chopper Crash Probe
More than three years after a helicopter crash killed three Montenegrin military pilots, an investigation found that there were no grounds to launch any criminal prosecutions.
The investigation into the deaths of the three airmen in 2011 has concluded that no one should be prosecuted over the incident, the High State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica said on Wednesday.
“I have informed the family members of the victims and instructed them to file a suit to the relevant prosecution office if they believe the accident was due to someone else’s negligence,” prosecutor Zeljko Tomkovic told daily newspaper Dan.
The three men died when a Montenegrin military helicopter crashed in the Lustica area, near the coastal town of Herceg Novi, during a regular training flight in September 2011.
Lieutenant-Colonel Delhadin Sahbaz, aged 45, Major Ivan Obradovic, 36, and Sergeant First Class Vidoje Tomic, also 36, were killed when the Gazelle helicopter went down.
During the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office investigated whether Montenegro’s Defence Ministry, the National Commission for Investigation of Aviation Accidents or the French company Eurocopter, which had serviced the helicopter, were responsible for the crash.
Military analyst Aleksandar Dedovic said that the state must take responsibility for the incident out of respect to the families of the dead airmen.
“It is simply shocking that no one was blamed for an accident with a fatal outcome,” Dedovic told BIRN on Thursday.
He said that in NATO member states it would be impossible for no one to be held to account for such a military accident, adding that the prosecution’s conclusion could have an impact on the final stages of the process of Montenegro joining the Western military alliance.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)