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Južne vesti 23. 01. 2024.

After almost two years since the accident in the “Soko” mine, when 8 miners lost their lives in the pit, the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Aleksinac rejected the criminal charges for the third time and concluded that no one was to blame for their deaths, and that it was a matter of “higher force”. The lawyer of the families of the deceased, Bratislav Stojanović, considers such a decision shameful, he is preparing a third objection and repeats that the tragedy could have been prevented if the authorities had not prioritized ore, but human lives.

What the Aleksinac Prosecutor’s Office stated in the new, third decision to dismiss the criminal charges against those responsible for the mining accident from April 1, 2022, is not known for now, because they said that they will announce it tomorrow, when they first inform all the injured parties about it.

Lawyer Bratislav Stojanović, who represents the families of the dead miners, points out that the new decision is shameful for the judiciary of Serbia and that they now have the conditions to appeal to Strasbourg as well, but that they will file an objection and hope that this time too the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Niš will return this case to the Aleksinac for reconsideration.

Now the essence of our entire procedure is that they “passed the ball” to the Commission that was formed at the Faculty of Mining and Geology in Belgrade, that they report the cause of the mining accident and then they exceeded their authority, they did not examine the technical part, the equipment of those devices who measure methane, but the experts said that it was a matter of force majeure, that it turned out to be an unexpected obstacle with a higher concentration of methane, which is not true, because it is a purely legal issue that should be decided by the court – notes Stojanović.

Stojanović explains that the cause of the miner’s death cannot be “force majeure” by saying that the accident could have been prevented if the engineers on duty had evacuated their colleagues after the increased concentration of methane in the pit and that their priority was not mining the ore.

Machines that were working when a methane concentration of over 1.5% was detected, in order to prevent a fire like the one in 1989 when 99 miners died, are automatically turned off, but the air supply is also turned off. That night, the machines were turned off 4 times before the critical event, however, this engineer on duty did not react and did not order the workers to evacuate, but their priority was to exploit the ore and they came to a situation where there was an excessive concentration of methane at once and the poisoning of ten , 15, 20 seconds – points out Stojanović.

This is the key argument he singles out to explain that this accident could have been prevented, because he notes that the pit was secured, the amount of methane was measured and workers were hired to control it and act accordingly, but not that night.

So it can’t possibly be force majeure. I therefore expect that the Higher Prosecutor’s Office will act as a second-instance authority and return this procedure again, with the filing of an indictment against the responsible persons, with the aim of preventing such mining accidents from happening again in the future, that is the essence of our action – concludes the lawyer.

The lawyer also explains that all the evidence has been collected so far, the witnesses, the surviving miners, the engineer, the dispatcher, the pit manager and the representative of the Commission of Experts have been examined, and that in the next week they will submit an objection to this decision of the Prosecutor’s Office, which then also has a short deadline for an answer. whether they will return the case to the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office for a new decision.

Let us remind you that last year the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Niš filed an indictment for economic offense against the director of the “Soko” mine, and they confirmed the information presented by the lawyer of the injured parties – that the radar works were carried out without a permit and at the time of the miner’s death.

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