The families of the dead miners are demanding an inquiry committee in the Assembly and a video of the accident from the Soko mine.
There is a video of the accident in the “Soko” Mine, in which eight miners died a year ago, said the lawyer of their families, Bratislav Stojanović, who requests that it be made available to the public. They also demand the formation of an inquiry committee from the Serbian Parliament, in order to find out what the situation was like on the ground on the day of the death. The investigation is still ongoing, and one of the demands is to interrogate all the witnesses, as well as the 20 surviving miners, who previously reported a higher concentration of methane in the pit.
Lawyer Stojanović, who represents 8 families of the miners who died, previously said that this Mine did not have a work permit for more than a year, but it was closed only after the accident.
Today, he presented new details regarding the investigation, which is still ongoing, because two months ago the High Prosecutor’s Office asked Aleksinac to continue it.
The new information that he presented to the journalists is that there is a video of the accident from the “Soko” Mine, which has not been publicly available for the past year.
The lawyer says that the recording exists, but they haven’t found it yet; photo: JV
We have new findings in the investigation, they are specifically related to some information that we received right after the mining accident from the then Minister of Mining and Energy. That the entire critical event was recorded. We do not have that knowledge, we tried to find some material evidence in that direction, we will try our best and we hope that the National Assembly will help, so that there is no legal situation again if we do not have a video that is mentioned by a competent and leading in the then Ministry of Mining and Energy – explained Stojanović.
He also points out that so far only one suspect has been questioned, out of 14 in the Ministry’s criminal complaint, and that he, as a representative, suggested that all of them be questioned, because it would help them find out – how they organized jobs and work tasks before and on the day of the accident.
It is very important for us to determine from the eyewitnesses, that is, the survivors of the 20 physically injured miners, how the mining accident took place and what is very important – what the condition was like in this mine immediately before the accident. Given that we have come to know, from the miners, that the competent managers were regularly notified before the critical event of a higher concentration of methane in the specific pit where this mining accident happened – notes Stojanović.
If the Aleksinac Prosecutor’s Office rejects the criminal complaint for the third time, and the lawyer hopes that this will not happen, they have the right to file a complaint again with the Higher Prosecutor’s Office in Nis.
The lawyer also says that there is a possibility for them to file a criminal complaint themselves and thus find the truth about how 8 miners died in the pit.
My task is very difficult, with the team of experts we hired, to try to obtain as much material as possible and to initiate a new criminal prosecution ourselves, according to our criminal complaint, with the engagement of mining engineers from outside the country, because we believe that they would be objective and impartial experts in to this criminal-legal matter – adds the lawyer.
They also request that the Assembly form an inquiry committee
The request for the formation of a survey committee was previously mentioned by the lawyer and the families he represents, and when the Assembly was constituted last year, it was also one of the initiatives of the Green-Left Club – Ne davimo Beograd – Moramo, in order to review all the circumstances of this mining tragedy.
Officially requested a survey committee from the Assembly; photo: JV
The lawyer says that the families, based on their constitutional powers, have officially submitted such a proposal, with a request to determine the state of mining in Serbia, on the day of the accident, April 1, 2022, in order to determine, among other things, all the facts and circumstances of the mining accidents in the brown coal mine “Soko”.
The procedure for this proposal is as follows – the president of the National Assembly is obliged to put this proposal on the agenda of the first regular or extraordinary session of the National Assembly, to put this proposal of ours on public debate and to decide on this proposal later. We gave up on the proposal to form an inquiry committee, because we believe that the inquiry committee has greater procedural powers. In case the President of the National Assembly does not act according to our proposal, it is automatically a violation of his constitutional obligations prescribed by the Constitution – points out Stojanović.
Their goal is to establish the eventual guilt of the managers, as well as to ensure that the level of safety of all miners is at a higher level than now, the lawyer explains, but that this should not be counterproductive and that this mine should be closed, because it has 600 employees and not only from from the Aleksinac and Sokobanj regions, but also from Boljevac, Vranje and Zaječar, and family members of the miners who died still work there.