Bosnia to reinvestigate late Macedonian president's plane crash

Reuters News

11/9/2012 8:07:46 AM - Reuters News

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia will reinvestigate a plane crash that killed Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski in 2004 because of new evidence in the case, a government official said on Friday, after Macedonian media said there were suspicions he had been assassinated.

Trajkovski and eight others were killed in the crash, which happened on the approach to an airport near the Bosnian town of Mostar. At the time, Bosnian investigators said pilot error was to blame.

Trajkovski is remembered as the man who brought peace to Macedonia when it was on the brink of an ethnic war in 2001. He and his entourage had been flying to Mostar for an economic conference.

Some local media had quoted a lawyer for Trajkovski's family as saying the plane had been brought down by a missile, an allegation for which the family had not previously been able to provide evidence.

Other reports questioned the role of SFOR, the NATO peacekeeping force which was in control of Mostar airport at the time, saying it had concealed evidence.

Omer Kulic, an official at Bosnia's Transport Ministry, said the ministry has decided to form an investigative commission by the end of the year to study new evidence that had been unearthed by Macedonian investigators.

"They have come to some new findings and facts that shed new light on the accident and we want to clarify them," Kulic told Reuters. "We have concluded that there are enough elements to start a new investigation."

He declined to speculate on the nature of the new evidence.

Experts from the United States, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia would join the new investigative team, Kulic said.

(Reporting By Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Andrew Osborn)