The State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has found Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic guilty of helping to commit genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, and sentenced them to 31 years in prison each.
Vukovic and Tomic, former members of the Second Special Police Squad with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, MUP RS, were jailed for having participated in the shooting of more than 1,000 Srebrenica residents in Kravica Agricultural Cooperative warehouse, Bratunac municipality, on July 13, 1995.
"The two indictees significantly contributed to the commission of the crime. Their contribution is reflected in the sentence. The Court has established, beyond reasonable doubt, that the indictees participated in the murders and were aware of the fact that, by committing those actions, they participated in the extermination of Bosniaks from Srebrenica," Trial Chamber Chairman Senadin Bektasevic said.
Explaining the verdict, Bektasevic said the indictees took part, on July 12 and 13, 1995, in controlling the road between Bratunac and Konjevic polje, "where thousands of men were surrendering to the Army" and they participated, in the late evening on July 13, in escorting those men to the warehouse in Kravica.
"Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic stood together with others forming a semi-circle in front of the warehouse. Members of the MUP kept shooting until their ammunition magazines were empty. Then they would recharge them and continue shooting.
"At the same time Vukovic was throwing bombs at the prisoners. (...) The Chamber cannot determine how many people were killed in the warehouse, but, according to authentic testimonies, several hundred people, or at least 1,000, were killed on Friday, July 13. The Court considers this was the first big massacre in the Srebrenica genocide," the judge said.
Bektasevic said the Court had determined that genocide was committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, but it has not determined that the two indictees and other members of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, and MUP "shared a joint intention to commit genocide".
This is why the Court sentenced them for helping to commit genocide, despite the fact that the State Prosecution had charged them with genocide.
"The Court partially changed the factual description of the crime and aligned it with the facts, because the indictees' actions could not be qualified as genocide," the judge explained.
Bektasevic said "the scope of the crime" was considered as an aggravating circumstance in the case of the indictees, adding that the Trial Chamber considered the fact that the indictees are family men as a mitigating circumstance.
The time which the two indictees have spent in custody, from August 2008 to the present in Vukovic's case and from July 2007 to the present in the case of Tomic, will be calculated towards the sentence. The Court rendered a decision to extend custody of the two indictees.
Both parties have the right to appeal the verdict.
This article is Premium Content. In order to gain access to it, please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber, or subscribe to one of our Premium Content packages.
Our Premium Service gives you access to exclusive content published on Balkan Insight, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Subscribe to Balkan Transitional Justice Premium or to Full Premium Access and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.
If you have trouble logging in or any other questions regarding you account, please contact us