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The inspection found a number of irregularities in the "Soko" mine: the Ministry and the families of the victims announce criminal charges

The Ministry of Mining and Energy is preparing criminal charges for the death of eight miners who died on April 1 in the Soko mine. Unlike the judiciary in Aleksinac, which decided that there were no grounds for criminal prosecution for the death of eight miners, the ministry believes that there are elements for filing a criminal complaint, said Minister Zorana Mihajlović. She called on the families of the dead miners to file an objection to the decision. Their legal representative, lawyer Bratislav Stojanović, tells Euronews Serbia that, regardless of the announced action of the relevant ministry, the families will also file a criminal complaint.

According to the report on the inspection supervision of the mining accident, which was ordered by the Ministry of Mining and Energy, a number of irregularities were found in the mine.

Among other things, that the works on field number 99 Soko were carried out without the necessary permission for the execution of mining works issued by the ministry. It was also established that in 2013, the approval for carrying out work on the project of trial excavation of part of the deposit of the Soko pit – Sokobanja expired. The inspection revealed that the consent of the business entity that created the project was not obtained, and that technical control was not performed. Based on the established irregularities, the Republic Mining Inspector issued a measure prohibiting the performance of mining works on exploitation field No. 99 Soko.

Mihajlovic: Many need to explain what they did

The Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlović, stated that the ministry is preparing criminal charges against those responsible for the accident that occurred in April this year, when eight miners lost their lives in the Soko mine in Sokobanja.

Euronews/Ljiljana Pavlović

“The Ministry is preparing a criminal complaint. We also believe that there is a basis for criminal responsibility. There are enough people who should explain what they did, and it also refers to the fact that they did not have approval and that they did not have a project that was not had approval, or rather, it was rejected. It refers to doing or doing wrong during the night when everything happened. Everything was recorded, there are audio recordings,” the minister told Tanjug and added that the report will soon be submitted to the High Prosecutor’s Office in Nis.

Lawyer: The families will file criminal charges

The lawyer of the families of the dead miners of the “Soko” mine, Bratislav Stojanović, says that no criminal charges have been submitted by the competent inspectors to the competent municipal public prosecutor’s office in Aleksic, and that because of this, the families of the victims and he, as their representative, did not receive the status of injured parties, but it was about pre-criminal procedure. He also notes that the Prosecutor’s Office in Aleksinac announced by issuing a statement to the media and informing the families that there were no grounds for criminal prosecution, and that the relevant ministry reacted only after his appearance in the media.

“Until today, I have not received that notification, nor permission to view the list of cases. It is probably not convenient for them to see what material evidence they have, primarily the investigative documentation. To see how the investigation was conducted and what was done after its completion. Just from for these reasons, since I contacted the media, and on behalf of the family I saw the filing of a criminal complaint with the engagement of court experts from outside the country, then the Ministry of Energy reacted with the announcement of the filing of a criminal complaint and with a total disinformation, that I as the family’s representative and they as legal followers have the right to file a complaint, that is not true because the criminal complaint has not even been filed to date,” said Stojanović.

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